After multiple readers complained about The New York Times' profile of Church Militant, its day editor at the National Desk responded. The full letter follows.
Jan. 6, 2017
620 Eighth Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10018
Thank you for your note expressing concern about the recent "On Religion" column about ChurchMilitant.com. All of us at The Times takes feedback from our readers seriously, and I have shared your criticisms of the article with the columnist who reported and wrote it, Samuel G. Freedman.
Your letter to Dean Baquet was passed along to me, and I’ve been asked to respond as the editor who oversaw the column.
In terms of the column being a "hatchet job," all of the quotes or paraphrases attributed to ChurchMilitant.com and/or Mr. Voris came from publicly-available material on the website and/or from Mr. Freedman's interview with Mr. Voris. That interview was recorded and transcribed, and Mr. Freedman gave a copy of the transcription of the interview to Mr. Voris.
At several relevant points in the column, Mr. Voris is quoted refuting claims made against him. So his point-of-view seems to be adequately represented.
It is not clear from your letter which quote from another source you believe has been misconstrued. If it is the quote from Prof. John C. Cavadini of Notre Dame, be assured that during the fact-checking process prior to publication, Prof. Cavadini confirmed the accuracy of the quote and the context in which it was being cited.
If it is the quote from Mark Weitzman of the Wiesenthal Center, then not only was the quote fact-checked but Mr. Weitzman's assertion was independently supported in Mr. Freedman's unpublished background interviews with several leading Catholic scholars of Catholic-Jewish relations.
So I believe that we are comfortable with the column and our approach to the issue.
Thank you for your interest and for reading The New York Times.
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