Archive of May 12, 2013

Washington Post accused of abortion bias in coverage

Washington D.C., May 12, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The leader of a conservative think-tank is calling for more balanced abortion coverage from the Washington Post after the paper’s publisher reportedly said that its production team members “do make mistakes.”

At a meeting of shareholders in The Washington Post Company May 9, David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research, argued that the paper’s biased coverage of the March for Life could be contributing to its financial woes.

“In January, as almost every year, the March for Life got a tiny little story in the Metro section,” Almasi told CNA on May 10.

“That's bad enough, but then the next day, there was a rally of under 1,000 people, by the Post's own reporting, for gun control, and they gave it almost the same length of coverage.”

Almasi added that the Washington Post's article on the March for Life included a photo which prominently featured signs from pro-abortion counter-demonstrators, while the gun control article had “two photos that were of a positive nature towards the rally.”

The Post's Jan. 27 issue featured the headline “Nearly 1,000 rally on Mall to call for more gun control,” while the previous day's issue featured an article title “On Roe's 40th anniversary, more prayers to overturn it.”

Well down the article, the Post noted that the March for Life's permit was for 50,000 but that “organizers said the attendance was several times that number” and that participants “stretched for at least five blocks.”

“With something like the March for Life, they're busing people in, people are taking a lot out of their lives to be a part of this, and they're marching in weather I won't march in anymore … and I see little coverage,” Almasi said.

He contrasted this with the “better coverage” of the gun control rally and an environmentalist rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, both of which had far fewer participants.

At the shareholder meeting, Almasi told Post management that such biased reporting is “a credibility problem that's obviously hurting your bottom line.”

The previous week, the Washington Post Company had reported a sharp decline in profit in the first quarter. The company has explained the decline by costs related to early retirement, severance and restructuring, according to the New York Times.

Almasi participated in the shareholder meeting through Accuracy in Media, which own stocks in numerous companies.

He argued that the bias in abortion coverage is much the same as it was more than 20 years ago.

“This almost mimics 23 years ago when there was a very large pro-abortion rally in ‘89 and a very large pro-life rally in ‘90. The pro-abortion coverage was huge – days long, every section of the paper – and the pro-life rally the next year got in the Metro section.”

At the meeting, Post Company chairman Donald Graham, who in 1990 was the paper's publisher, “said he was appalled by what happened 23 years ago, though he didn't really say if he was appalled by what happened this year.”

Almasi said that Katherine Weymouth, current publisher of the Post, also responded to his concerns, saying “we're far from perfect – we do make mistakes.”

The allegation against the Post comes as the broader mainstream media have come under fire for their failure to cover the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who faces murder charges over the death of one mother and several babies, who were allegedly killed in his Philadelphia clinic after being born alive following botched abortion procedures.

Gosnell's trial began March 19, but it was not picked up by most of the large media outlets outside of Philadelphia until mid-April.

Almasi reports that in a private conversation following the shareholders' meeting, Weymouth said that 90 percent of the Post's newsroom is probably liberal and at times, “obviously their bias comes through.”

Now that the Post's representatives admitted the paper's bias and previous mistakes, Almasi said that they need to do better.

“But we just need to see if they take that to heart, or it's just something they say every year at the shareholder meeting when we ask them,” he stated.

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Martyrdom of Pope St. John I remembered May 18

Denver, Colo., May 12, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - On May 18, the Catholic Church honors the first “Pope John” in its history. Saint John I was a martyr for the faith, imprisoned and starved to death by a heretical Germanic king during the sixth century.

He was a friend of the renowned Christian philosopher Boethius, who died in a similar manner.

Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians also honor Pope St. John I, on the same date as the Roman Catholic Church.

The future Pope John I was born in Tuscany, and served as an archdeacon in the Church for several years. He was chosen to become the Bishop of Rome in 523, succeeding Pope St. Hormisdas.

During his papal reign Italy was ruled by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric. Like many of his fellow tribesmen, the king adhered to the Arian heresy, holding that Christ was a created being rather than the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Arianism had originated in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire during the fourth century, and subsequently spread among the Western Goths. By the sixth century the heresy was weak in the East, but not dead.

In 523, the Byzantine Emperor Justin I ordered Arian clergy to surrender their churches into orthodox Catholic hands. In the West, meanwhile, Theodoric was angered by the emperor’s move, and responded by trying to use the Pope’s authority for his own ends.

Pope John was thus placed in an extremely awkward position. Despite the Pope’s own solid orthodoxy, the Arian king seems to have expected him to intercede with the Eastern emperor on behalf of the heretics. John’s refusal to satisfy King Theodoric would eventually lead to his martyrdom.

John did travel to Constantinople, where he was honored as St. Peter’s successor by the people, the Byzantine Emperor, and the Church’s legitimate Eastern patriarchs. (The Church of Alexandria had already separated by this point.) The Pope crowned the emperor, and celebrated the Easter liturgy at the Hagia Sophia Church in April of 526.

But while John could urge Justin to treat the Arians somewhat more mercifully, he could not make the kind of demands on their behalf that Theodoric expected.

The gothic king, who had recently killed John’s intellectually accomplished friend Boethius (honored by the Church as St. Severinus Boethius, on Oct. 23), was furious with the Pope when he learned of his refusal to support the Arians in Constantinople.

Already exhausted by his travels, the Pope was imprisoned in Ravenna and deprived of food. The death of St. John I came on or around May 18, which became his feast day in the Byzantine Catholic tradition and in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, he is celebrated on May 27, the date on which his exhumed body was returned to Rome for veneration in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Stay focused on human life, Pope tells pro-life marchers

Vatican City, May 12, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis greeted the thousands of people who had gathered this morning in Rome to protest against abortion, praising efforts to secure legal protection for human beings at their earliest stages of life.

“I greet the participants of the March for Life which took place this morning in Rome and invite everyone to stay focused on the important issue of respect for human life, from the moment of conception,” said the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica.

He addressed the pro-life advocates at Saint Peter’s Square in his comments for the May 12 Regina Caeli prayer. They had gathered in St. Peter’s Square after marching against abortion earlier that day in Rome.

The march began at Rome’s Colosseum and ended at Castel Sant’Angelo, just a few hundred feet from the Vatican.

Pope Francis praised other pro-life efforts in Italy.

“I am pleased to recall the petition that today takes place in many Italian parishes, in order to support the initiative European ‘One of Us’ to ensure legal protection to the embryo, protecting every human being from the first moment of its existence,” the Pope said.

He announced that the Vatican will host events dedicated to Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” on June 15 and 16. Pope Francis said this occasion would be “a special moment for those who have cared about the defense of the sanctity of human life.”

The Pope made his comments during the Regina Caeli prayer, which followed a Mass he celebrated at Saint Peter’s Square to canonize many new saints.

He canonized Blessed Antonio Primaldo and Companions, hundreds of martyrs who were massacred by Turkish invaders when they refused to give up their faith.

Also canonized were the first Colombian-born saint, teacher Bl. Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui, and Bl. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican vowed religious who co-founded the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Poor.

He offered a special greeting to official delegations of Italy, Colombia and Mexico who had just previously attended the canonization Mass.

“The martyrs of Otranto help the beloved Italian people to look with hope to the future, trusting in the nearness of God who never abandons, even in difficult times,” said the Pope.

The pontiff also announced that Father Luigi Novarese had been beatified on May 11 in Rome, saying he was “pleased” by it.

Fr. Novarese was the founder of the lay associations the Apostolate of the Suffering and the Silent Workers of the Cross.

“I join in the thanksgiving for this exemplary priest, who was able to renew pastoral care of the sick by making them active participants in the Church,” said Pope Francis.

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Pope canonizes hundreds of Italian martyrs

Vatican City, May 12, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis on Sunday canonized hundreds of fifteenth century Italian martyrs who died rather than renounce their Christian faith.

“The martyrs’ faithfulness even unto death and the proclamation of the Gospel are rooted in the love of God that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” said Pope Francis during the May 12 canonization Mass at the Vatican.

He saw in their lives an inspiration for victims of persecution today.

“Let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good,” the Pope said.

In 1480, Turkish invaders beheaded Antonio Primaldo and his hundreds of companions in the far southeastern Italian town of Otranto after they refused to give up their faith.

Pope Francis compared Antonio Primaldo to the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as “a man full of the Holy Spirit.”

“This means he was full of the love of God, that his whole person, his whole life was animated by the Spirit of the risen Christ, so as to follow Jesus with total fidelity, even unto to the gift of self,” he said.

He said St. Antonio Primaldo and companions found their strength “in faith, which allows us to see beyond the limits of our human eyes, beyond the boundaries of earthly life, to contemplate the heavens opened and the living Christ at the right hand of the Father.”

The Pope also named two other new saints.

The first canonized Columbian-born saint, Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui, was “an instrument of evangelization,” he said.

“This first saint born on the beautiful Colombian soil teaches us to be generous together with God, not to live the faith alone but to communicate, to radiate the joy of the Gospel by word and witness of life in every place we find ourselves,” he added.

Pope Francis said she was a teacher who then became “the spiritual mother of the indigenous peoples.” She gave them hope and welcomed them with “the love she learned from God,” bringing them to God in a way that respected their own culture.

He underscored that the saint “teaches us to see the face of Jesus reflected in the other, to overcome indifference and individualism.”
The Pope said she teaches us this by “welcoming everyone without prejudice or constraints, with love, giving the best of ourselves and above all, sharing with them the most valuable thing we have, Christ and his Gospel.”

Pope Francis also canonized Maria Guadalupe García Zavala, a Mexican vowed religious who co-founded the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Poor.

The Pope said she “gave up a comfortable life to follow the call of Jesus” and taught people to love poverty “in order the more to love the poor and the sick.”

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