When I agreed to be spokesman or media contact for the Correctio Filialis I didn't realise quite what was I was letting myself in for. I've now lost count of the number of telephone and email mini-interviews I've done, and I don't have time to keep track on the number of reports online which have resulted from these.
This could have been a nightmare, but it's not at all. The journalists have been polite and professional. (Associated Press was a teeny bit naughty breaking the media embargo, but it was only by an hour or two.) And all things considered, we are getting amazingly favourable coverage in Catholic and non-Catholic sources.
The New York Times and the Daily Mail, which both picked up the AP material, took the fairly obvious (to them) line that the Pope was being nice to people and that we want to take the sweeties away from the children - or something like that. (A Guardian comment piece says the same thing.) They paid us the incomparable compliment, however, of reporting us, and indeed of doing so at some length and with a degree of prominence, and the articles are hardly hatchet-jobs. The story of the 'Pope vs. conservative critics' has become part of the media narrative about Pope Francis, so it goes down without obstruction. But critical distance between the liberal media and what we might call the 'reforming agenda' in the Church seems to have opened up nevertheless, thanks no doubt to stories such as about Professor Seifert losing his job over criticisms Amoris laetitia. The liberals in the Church are less and less recognisable as such; the conservatives are clearly now the underdogs.
So now we have a story from CNN which is really very balanced, even favourable to us.
In the meantime, Catholic outlets seem to be divided between those who want to report the story in an objective or favourable way, who find themselves doing multiple stories as the news develops (Catholic Herald here and here, Lifesite here, here, here, etc.), and those who wish to play it down or ignore it completely. The problem for the latter is that it is too late: the mainstream media have already picked it up.
It's no fun ignoring something on one's own. And it doesn't have the desired effect, either.
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