.- In an article published recently by the Spanish daily La Razon, renowned Italian author Vittorio Messori said he is convinced “Catholicism today needs more than ever its own Anti-defamation League” similar to the organization that defends Jewish interests.
Messori maintains that the number of attacks on Catholics in different media outlets is on the rise, and that often they are left unanswered mainly because of the lack of information, or even because of disinformation, on the part of Catholics with regards to the truth.
The Italian journalist writes that his efforts as well as those of other authors to counter the many false ideas in the media are isolated and uncoordinated, and therefore he is proposing the creation of an organization: “Something small, agile, motivated, informed, and prepared to respond, or to enable people to respond, point by point, to all of the false notions that bombard us each day in the media. Why is that only the Church and her history can be disparaged with no one to counter it? There is no lack of informed historians or undoubtedly cultured individuals in the Church who are capable of clarifying, explaining and rebutting,” Messori explains.
Messori maintains he has no intention to restrict freedom of speech, but that he does have “zero tolerance for lies, deliberate misrepresentations and outright errors. We must counter, therefore, not peoples’ opinions, but rather the historical falsehoods upon which these opinions are all too often based.”
Messori says a “League” of this type should serve as an instrument for intervening in these kinds of matters, and that it should be supported by a group of lawyers. Many people believe denials or clarifications are published out of kindness or honesty on the part of newspaper editors, he continued, when in reality “there are precise laws that guarantee the right to reply and establish that rebuttals be visibly published. It is not necessary to call for new laws, what we need is for the ones that exits to be well known and enforced.” Lies, Messori maintains, have no legal basis, no matter if they are passed by the legislature.
A Catholic league, he says, could begin in Italy and become a model for similar type organizations in other countries. Not only would the Church benefit from such an organization, all of society would be helped, as “the truth is an indispensable condition for our freedom, and for the freedom of non-believers and non-Christians as well.”
While such an organization should be created and managed by the laity, “the intervention of the Church should be decisive, in order to exhort, counsel and perhaps help economically as well,” Messori says.