Responding to an anti-Catholic column penned by Eugene Joseph Dionne and an editorial cartoon portraying the Holy Father as deaf to abuse claims, Portland Archbishop John Vlazny has canceled his subscription to The Oregonian newspaper and asked Catholic pastoral ministers to do the same.
Archbishop Vlazny decried a March 31 editorial in the newspaper, a piece by syndicated Washington Post columnist Eugene Joseph (E.J.) Dionne and a cartoon by The Oregonian's Jack Ohman depicting Pope Benedict XVI responding, “say what?” to demands that he “do something about pedophile priests.”
“The editors arrogantly scolded the church for its past failures in handling this matter of child abuse and, in an insulting and unfair attack, chose this most holy time of the year – during our church's 'Year of the Priest' - to connect the practice of celibacy among our clergy with the problem of sexual abuse, when everyone knows that most abusers by far are married persons!” wrote Archbishop Vlazny in a message e-mailed to diocesan priests.
The 73-year-old archbishop then described Ohman's editorial cartoon as “a portrayal dripping with hostility, an attack against our high priest, our universal pastor, our faithful teacher, the one person who, in the eyes of the world, symbolizes all that we are and do as Catholics.”
On April 1, The Oregonian published the response of Bob Caldwell, the newspaper’s editorial page editor, who claimed that “our editorial and cartoon about the child sexual abuse scandal were not, in any sense, anti-Catholic.”
“They could be construed as critical of the pope and church's handling of abuse cases over the years, but the editorial was both thoughtful and hopeful. We had no intent to offend anyone, although I am not surprised that some disagreed with the opinions expressed on our pages,” Caldwell added.
Although the archbishop's email did not ask priests to include his statement in their parish bulletins, some decided to do so said Bud Bunce, spokesman for the archdiocese.
The Oregonian said it tried to reach Archbishop Vlazny for further comment, but Bunce responded saying the prelate did not want to further discuss his statement.