|Cardinal lashes out against U.S.
media as it prepares for Dallas
By THOMAS C. FOX
Just days before hundreds of U.S.
reporters and scores of television production crews descend upon Dallas, an
important church cardinal has lashed out against the U.S. media. Honduran
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga bitterly attacked the press for its coverage
of the clergy abuse scandal.
Some church observers have seen this
prelate as a potential papal candidate. My guess is that fewer insiders would
share this opinion today.
Interviewed by the Catholic monthly
magazine, 30 Giorni, or 30 Days, Maradiaga reportedly said he
sees conspiracy and a campaign of Catholic bashing in recent U.S. media
coverage. He sees editors and news producers stumbling over themselves to
revenge the church for its support of a Palestinian homeland, and opposition to
abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty. He sees the media acting with
a fury which reminds me of the times of Diocletian and Nero and more
recently, Stalin and Hitler.
Now hold on. The 59-year-old cardinal
-- perhaps still a tad too young to be elected pope -- had until now been
viewed as a moderate attuned to the world and its needs. Now I wonder. So will
other Catholics. His intemperate remarks reveal a woefully inadequate ability
to assess the U.S. scene today.
Either the cardinal believes what he
said or does not. If he believes it, he lacks understanding and reasonably
balanced perception. If he does not, he has naively allowed himself to be
suckered into an unbecoming and misdirected campaign to scapegoat the media and
remove attention from where it belongs, in the laps of the U.S.
Perhaps cultural barriers have kept
this seemingly charming Latin American from understanding the role of a free
press in a Western society. Or perhaps he is more sheltered and defensive than
some might have thought. Does he simply lack the ability to feel and relate to
the outrage of American Catholics, an outrage reflected in media
Maradiagas remarks might come
back to haunt him. The churchs 126 cardinals under 80 years of age --
those who will elect the next pope -- will almost certainly look to the next
pope to be a moderate leader, a unifier, a healer, a person not prone to
extremist rhetoric. Based on Maradiagas recent remarks, he scores poorly
in all these areas.