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Mary Rose asks , “Should Catholics thank the Boston Globe and the New York Times ” a question prompted by my homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, published today by her kind hospitality.

Although I mentioned the press generically in my homily, now that the question has become specific, I would say (generally speaking), the Globe did an important service to the Catholic Church in the United States (I am not claiming that was the intent of the editors, of course), whereas the recent coverage by the Times has been flagrantly tendentious, even obviously so, as William McGurn showed recently in the April 6, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal .

In other words, in my schema the Globe uncovered the operations of “the enemy of our human nature” as described by St. Ignatius in the first “rule” for discerning spirits that I quoted; whereas the Times is acting like the enemy as described by the second.

Irritated as some bloggers might be that I would condescend to praise so debt-ridden and jejune an enterprise as the Globe , I still think that paper did the Church a big favor, painful as the exposure has been. As the blogger Diogenes over at Catholic Culture rightly points out, what came to light during the Long Lent of 2002 were the following sins (and sins they were):

Chanceries sending letters to multiple-offense predators, congratulating them on their long years of productive ministry;

Chanceries refusing to accept phone calls from parishioners who complain about a priest who is a serial molester;

Chanceries telling victims of abuse that they must keep things quiet, because they are bound by the confessional seal;

Chanceries signing reference letters for priests who spoke at the foundational meeting of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

I do not claim to be able to foretell the fate of the elephantine media in this new electronic environment; but the precarious state of the Globe and Times made me recall the Assyrian empire, which is no more, while Israel lives on. I do not doubt the Catholic Church will survive the time of purgation, however long it lasts; and who knows how long any newspaper will last. All I know is that a purgation was clearly necessary, and if it had to come first from the Church’s enemies, so be it.

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