What's happening to the Herald?

by Mary Ann Kreitzer


The November 6-12 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald asked readers, "What do you think?" about the redesign of the paper after a year. It pains us at Les Femmes to say that a cosmetic change in appearance is irrelevant to the fundamental problems of a Catholic paper that increasingly tows the liberal line and creates scandal for the people of Virginia. At one time The Herald was a completely faithful voice of orthodoxy. More and more it is the voice of confusion mixing orthodoxy and dissent without distinction.  One decision that would improve that problem would be to drop Catholic News Service and substitute it with alternatives like the Catholic News Agency or Catholic World News. We and others have made that recommendation on numerous occasions. In response to The Herald we make it publicly once again.

We offer a few examples of the serious editorial problems with The Herald.

From the issue of November 6-12:

  • "Social action advocates prepare for 2009", p. 14 about the actions of Social Action Linking Together (SALT frequently appears in The Herald): The SALT agenda is income redistribution. Studying the SALT website shows that most of their efforts involve lobbying government for more tax dollars for a myriad of issues that supposedly help the poor. Government charity, however, is an oxymoron. Every dollar spent toward a project run by government is insignificant compared to the money spent to run the program. Compare dollar for dollar the good done by private charities like Medical Missionaries, the Missionaries of Charity, or St. Vincent de Paul compared to government programs. SALT is not in the tradition of Catholic Action, but in the same advocacy approach as groups like ACORN which pressure government for more money for their pet programs.  Les Femmes especially questions the demand for state support for grandparents to care for their own grandchildren.  Government aid always comes with strings. It is a dangerous precedent to give the government oversight of the family.
  • "Death penalty activist receives ethics award", p. 15 about the activities of death penalty opponent, Sr. Helen Prejean: Sr. Prejean claims to follow a "consistent ethic of life" but has always been nuanced on abortion and contraception and, in fact, signed an ad in 2006 that advocated the right to both. She claimed later she didn't see the final version of the ad, but her past history is consistent with signing it as it was. The Curt Jester blog has an interesting article on her position. Those who have heard her speak in other settings raise questions as well.
  •  While she has backed off her more open advocacy for positions opposing Church teaching, (They cut into her speaking opportunities in Catholic settings.), she aligns herself with pro-abortion, pro-contraception groups like Call to Action. This information was not, of course, included in the adoring article.
  • "Post-election reconciliation possible", p.18: The CNS article  was heavily biased. It portrayed a woman who opposed Obama as a raging fanatic in eight paragraphs of vitriol then threw in a non-specific three sentences about the "malicious rhetoric" against Republicans. There are plenty of specific examples of hate against McCain supporters including the vandalized stores and homes in Gainesville where swastikas and hate messages were spray-painted on storefronts and houses that had McCain signs out front. The impression left by the article is that those who support traditional teachings of the Church are violent and intolerant compared to liberal Catholics who are reasonable and compassionate.That is the standard liberal game plan and CNS is part of the liberal left. For The Herald to depend heavily on CNS as a primary news source insures that the paper will print biased articles that promote liberalism.
  • "Cardinal says 'Humanae Vitae' cut off Church from many people", p. 27: The worst article in the issue was another CNS propaganda piece:, Cardinal Martini's trashing of Humanae Vitae. The cardinal implied the supremacy of the cafeteria style of making moral decisions and essentially said that the majority rules. "Whatever the Church affirms, it should be supported by many people." By that rationale Jesus went to the cross for nothing since he was rejected by everyone. It completely conflicts with his question, "When I return will I find any faith on the earth?" Fortunately, the people of Arlington responded with many letters opposing the false teaching, but running the article was scandalous.

From the issue of Nov. 13-19:

  • "Black Catholics React", front page lead article: With an editor's note acknowledging Obama's pro-abortion stance, the paper went on to celebrate the "historic significance" of Obama's election and quoted several black Catholics who obviously voted for him only because of the color of his skin. Consider the outraged reaction if voters supported McCain only because he was the white candidate. If that's racist (and it is), it is equally racist to support Obama because he's black. Martin Luther King dreamed of the day when his four children would be judged not "by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," but those quoted in the article clearly considered nothing but skin-color when they went to the polls. The article was a celebration of black racism. The irony is that Obama's position on abortion is devastating to the black family. Blacks represent about 12% of the population, but black women have about 34% of the abortions. There is little to celebrate in what amounts to black genocide. The article was nothing but a prime example of political correctness.
  • "Fr. Greeley suffers skull fracture after fall", p. 16: This CNS article painted liberal Andrew Greeley as a model, award-winning Catholic priest. It would be more appropriate to ask for prayers for a man who writes dirty books and frequently dissents from teachings of the Church.
  • "Questions focus on election results", p. 25: Another CNS article. This one featured Fr. Tom Reese, who was forced to resign by the Vatican as editor of the liberal Jesuit periodical, America. Reese promoted the latest abortion game which endorses that pro-lifers quit trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and jump on Obama's "new" strategy which is just a re-hash of the failed "common ground" initiative and social services for women. While the article didn't mention it, one of the first bills in this "new" strategy is the Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act which aims to reduce abortion by increasing sex ed and contraception to teens. This is new?

To be fair to The Herald, Les Femmes applauds you abandoning the policy of rarely printing letters. Catholic laity have done a good job of refuting some of the errors in the letters to the editor section. We regret that Les Femmes is barred from participation, but we urge others to write. For your information we are starting a Catholic Herald Watch section on our website at www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org.

Catholic Herald Watch Index