At this point, there is no reason to expect a New York Times story about sexuality and the Catholic Church to be anything other than a set of talking points released by the press office at Fordham University or some other official camp of experts on the Catholic doctrinal left.
This is, of course, especially true when the topic is linked to LGBTQ issues.
New York City is a very complex place, when it comes to Catholic insiders and experts. However, it appears that there are no pro-Catechism voices anywhere to be found in the city that St. Pope John Paul II once called the “capital of the world.”
We had a perfect example this weekend of the Gray Lady’s role in defining the journalistic norms for covering Catholic debates (as journalists prepare for the Vatican’s global assembly to discuss sexual abuse by clergy). Here’s the epic double-decker headline:
’It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak out
The crisis over sexuality in the Catholic Church goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, into a closet that is trapping thousands of men.
Looking for a news story that offers viewpoints from both sides of this issue? Forget about it.
Looking for complex, candid thoughts from gay Catholics who actually support the teachings of their church? Forget about it (even though they exist and are easy to find online.)
Looking for any point of view other than the Times gospel stated in that headline? Forget about it.
So what is the purpose of this story?
Simple stated, the goal here is to define this debate for legions of other journalists. Here is how Rod “Benedict Option” Dreher describes this role in the journalism ecology in the Theodore McCarrick era: