The Download—Double Standard in Philadelphia

News: Commentary
by Christine Niles  •  •  October 3, 2016   

Pro-abortion politicians get white-glove treatment while faithful Catholics are ignored

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On September 6, Catholic News Agency — owned by EWTN — published a laudatory piece on Sen. Tim Kaine, highlighting his early connections to Liberation Theology in Honduras and how it transformed his worldview and helped kickstart his political career. Nowhere does the article mention Kaine's abortion and same-sex marriage advocacy, nor does it make clear that Liberation Theology is an ideology explicitly condemned by the Church.

Multiple commenters beneath the article expressed disbelief that EWTN would allow CNA to run such a piece praising a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Catholic during election season. One outraged woman wrote:

CNA, what happened to our EWTN? How could you softball a candidate with a stealth pro-abortion platform!!? How could you even CONSIDER it!?!! Who is the author of this hit piece to faithful pro-life Catholics!!?! I have been monthly donating to EWTN since the early 90s. Not any more!!

A Facebook meme was even created by a noted Catholic author mocking CNA.

Monday, submitted a media query to Abp. Charles Chaput, who sits on the board of EWTN and exercises a measure of influence over the operation. We politely asked whether he had comments to offer about the CNA piece praising Democratic senator Tim Kaine. We also made clear that all his responses would be on the record.
He immediately wrote back, dismissing our query as an attempt to stir up division. "Is this another attempt on the part of to create a story where there is no story?" he asked.
After we further clarified that many other Catholics are scandalized by this, Abp. Chaput deflected from the issue and attacked our apostolate. "CM does like to create stories to undermine the unity of the Church," he complained. "I will pray for your conversion."
This is not's first run-in with Abp. Chaput, who last year didn't take kindly to our media query wondering why he would give positions of honor to pro-abortion, pro-gay politicians at the World Meeting of Families. His response was similarly caustic. Rather than addressing the scandal, he attacked our apostolate:

Sitting in judgment from a distance is what the Pharisees did in the Gospels. Do not forget Jesus' harsh words for them.

It is actions like yours that undermines the pro-life unity of the Church. You make Christianity look harsh and judgmental because you actually act that way.

The archbishop also publicly released a false statement claiming, "Neither the World Meeting of Families—Philadelphia 2015 nor any of its leadership supports Planned Parenthood" — this in spite of the fact that he was fully aware that Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf (whom Abp. Chaput named an honorary co-chair of the event) is hailed by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards as "[the] first governor in the history of this country who is also a former Planned Parenthood escort." Wolf also appointed a Planned Parenthood executive to his transition team and a former Planned Parenthood executive as his chief of staff.

Ken Gavin, communications director for the Philadelphia archdiocese, wrote Monday also disclaiming any responsibility for the CNA article while — like his ordinary — attacking for simply asking for comment.

We responded in part, "[Abp. Chaput] holds himself forth as a faithful Catholic and issues strong statements defending Church teaching — yet excoriates faithful Catholics while giving white-glove treatment to powerful, pro-abortion politicians. In our world, that's called a double standard."

(Note bene: After our exchange with the archbishop, CNA decided to rerun an older article critical of Tim Kaine's support for abortion and gay marriage.)

Watch the panel discuss all this in "The Download—Double Standard in Philadelphia."


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