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Katie van Schaijik

The failure of institutions

Jul. 14, 2009, at 10:40am

As I mentioned below, Archbishop Chaput recently gave an address to Legatus titled “Catholics and the Fourth Estate.’” You can read here. I found it via the American Papist, where host Thomas Peters praises it with the words “not a single word wasted.”

When I began reading it, I expected to be writing a Linde post about the need for genuine Catholic journalism. Up until lately it seems to me that Catholic journalism has tended either to be dissenting or to be controlled by the bishops in a way that prevents its being able to play the role it’s supposed to play, i.e., helping to shape public opinion and keeping leaders accountable. What is desperately wanted is Catholic journalists who are faithful to the Church and unflinching in their critique of it.

But, reading the whole thing, I got mad. It is Archbishop Chaput (whom I generally admire) preaching about the failure of the secular media to live up to its institutional vocation to inform the public truthfully. I got mad because of all institutions to have failed to live up to their mission in society lately, I think I’d put “Catholic bishops” at the very top of the list, with “Catholic laity” a close second.

In the size of the gap between what we are and what we should be, the mainstream media doesn’t come close.


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