Pat Lynch’s last word on Fr. Benedict Groschel – Shooting The Messenger | The American Conservative

September 14, 2012

Once again Pat Lynch has bet on the losing team. So what else is new?

When I first read of Fr. Groschel’s unfortunate misstep, I was offended by the smug tone and the use of “guilt by association” being used by his accusers. Having experienced that boot being shoved down my throat more than once, it was a visceral and personal reaction. Since I have already taken up this now hopeless cause, I may as well go the whole distance and admit that I still think Groschel got a bum rap and is still being mistreated. After a lifetime of faithful service and enduring all the things that go along with public ministry, the old priest is “thanked” by his own order by being labeled “senile.” Nice going guys. That’s the way to encourage intelligent young people to give their lives to Christ. As an Anglican, I don’t agree with half of what Groschel says anyway, but he surely deserves better.

Furthermore, just so you will be justified if you come down and shoot me, I am also of the opinion that the reporter, his editors, or somebody, should have “cleansed” the story of Groschel’s incomprehensible statements. I have thought this through. The news is whatever we say it is. The confused miscues of an older cleric are not news, they are unsightly piles of unmentionable something in the middle of a beautiful garden. Journalistic integrity? You must be kidding!

The National Catholic Register has a history that is well known to those who follow such things.and its’ owner, EWTN, is committed to a “product,” of which Fr. Groschel was once a glittering centerpiece. Nobody can expect an institution to report on itself in an objective fashion. Forget the important distinction between news and PR. In this case it matters none.

Now that I have the fire blazing into the sky, let me grab the kerosene and pour it on this raging bonfire. You bet somebody should be fired. In the real world, people know the value of good public relations and some editor deserves to be bounced out to the curb for failing to protect the product. If I am the publisher, I am asking myself whether this oversight is some sort of deliberate sabotage. I would call Mr. Burger in and inquire as to why he did not, one, raise some follow-up questions with Fr. Groschel and, two, bring the matter to his editors. (It may well be that Burger did this). In any event, Burger would be in a little trouble, but the offending editor(s) would be cleaning out their desks.

Rod Dreher has a few remarks. He sees things differently and I respect the viewpoint. You should follow the link below and we should all spend some time praying for Fr. Benedict Groschel to find peace, and protection.

Several readers have e-mailed to say that John Burger, the veteran National Catholic Register writer and editor who conducted that controversial interview with Fr. Benedict Groeschel (it’s been removed from the site; story about the controversy here) was fired by the EWTN-owned newspaper because of it. I confirmed with Mr. Burger that he was let go because of the incident, but he did not wish to comment further.

This is disgraceful on the Register‘s part, just disgraceful. I hope somebody in Catholic media with a job to offer will contact John Burger and talk to him. In 2002, when the Register was owned by the Legionaries of Christ cult, I was at a Catholic media seminar in suburban Washington. The event had been planned before the sex scandal broke, but by the time we all got there, that’s all anybody wanted to talk about. The LC priest who was then the publisher of the Register spoke on a panel, and praised his own newspaper for not dirtying its hands by reporting these scurrilous stories about clerical sex abuse. During the Q&A, I stood to challenge him, saying that this isn’t journalism at all, but a form of propaganda. As I recall, he did not really know how to respond. He must have assumed that because everybody in the room was a conservative Catholic, we would agree with him.

I had hoped that after the Register left LC hands and went to EWTN’s, that unprofessional mentality would depart as well. Apparently not. I don’t know John Burger, but this situation strikes me as EWTN scapegoating the messenger for the message. From what I can tell, Burger was sacked for not editing out comments from Groeschel that later proved embarrassing — in other words, for not protecting Groeschel from himself.

Shooting The Messenger | The American Conservative.


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