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CIVILTA-POPE Apr-30-2009 (490 words) xxxi

Jesuit journal says secular media excessively criticize pope, church

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- Incessant and unwarranted criticism against Pope Benedict XVI is part of a larger anti-church campaign being waged by major newspapers and media outlets in the United States and Europe, said an Italian Jesuit magazine.

"Catholics in Italy and Europe know very well that a preconceived hostility exists against church doctrine, especially in the field of ethics," La Civilta Cattolica said.

The mass media, "which is the voice of powerful forces and interests, is an excellent propagator of this hostility," said a May 2 article released to journalists April 30.

The article, written by Jesuit Father Giandomenico Mucci, said "the media campaign that tends to discredit the pope finds fodder in the most outrageous interpretations made from papal speeches" and remarks. The Rome-based biweekly magazine is reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State before publication.

The magazine said there have been numerous occasions when commentators have distorted what the pope says or does because they view his actions through "biased lenses."

Pope Benedict and his teachings have been the target of a constant barrage of "overcriticism, aggravation and unpleasantness," it said.

Even when the pope was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II, he was described as Pope John Paul's German Rottweiler -- an "inflexible, cold controller of doctrine," it said.

Instead, anyone who has actually met or knows Pope Benedict would know that he has always been esteemed, even when he was head of the doctrinal office, for being an extremely gentle, spiritual, intellectually curious and peaceful man, said the article.

These "denigrating and delegitimizing efforts" against the pope, it said, are part of a "much larger campaign, which, at a universal level, tends to discredit the Catholic Church: from the (London) Times to The New York Times and The Washington Post, from Le Monde ... to the Italian press."

While not citing specific press reports, the magazine said the secular press often has put in a negative light church pronouncements on the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death and church opposition to the legal recognition of civil unions.

The reason for this hostility, said the journal, is people are opposed to religion in general and Catholicism in particular for asserting itself as the keeper of the one absolute truth.

Dogma, rules and morality that are not self-made make the church and the pope "inconvenient" for people caught up in the secular world and its false sense of freedom, it said.

But the critics are not in the majority, it said, and many people admire and praise the pope and the church for proclaiming "a new humanism."

The church offers humanity "an ethical project that focuses on forming the person in his or her entirety; it is a clear and solid spiritual and cultural project inspired by doctrine and indulgent toward the stumblings of every single individual," it said.


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