Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Cardinal Tobin’s impressive rise to power doesn't need dose of New York Times snark

 Cardinal Tobin’s impressive rise to power doesn't need dose of New York Times snark

This article on Newark’s incoming Catholic cardinal sure starts well, as the New York Times evidently thought enough of the man to send a reporter to flyover country to ferret him out and dig for some deep details.

But then, a few red flags began to rear their heads. Instead of being merely a profile of an interesting man plucked from the ecclesiastical backwater of Indianapolis, I began to see a different narrative.

Want to guess what subjects complicated matters in this otherwise fine profile?

Here’s how it starts:

INDIANAPOLIS -- For about a year, the guys at the gym just called him Joe. He lifted weights in the early mornings wearing a skull-printed do-rag. He worked out on the elliptical, wiping it down when he was done.
Then one day Shaun Yeary, a salesman at a landscape supply company, asked him in the locker room what he did for a living. “I used to be a priest,” Joe recalled telling him. “And now,” he said, his voice growing quieter so as not to scare anyone in earshot, “I’m the archbishop of Indianapolis.”
“I was like, for real?” Mr. Yeary recalled. “This guy is benching two and a quarter!” -- gymspeak for 225 pounds.
Joe, also known as Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, recently became one of the 120 men in the world who will choose the next pope. But he wants to be judged by his actions, not his lofty position in the Roman Catholic Church.

After another few sentences on the man’s humility:

… he is just the kind of leader Pope Francis is elevating to realign the church in the United States with his priorities.
As the pope has made clear over the past three years, fancy lifestyles, formality and regal titles like Prince of the Church are out of style for cardinals. So is an emphasis on the divisive issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, even though the church’s underlying position on those issues has not changed.

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Will Pope Francis embrace all the 'progressive' nuns?

Journalists are rarely true prophets, but they often try to look into the future and see what they want to see — often with the help of long-time sources on one side of an issue who are also anxious to see what they want to see. The sources for these wish-fulfillment stories are real. The quotes are real and almost always valid. The issue addressed in a trial-balloon story of this kind may be timely. However, it is crucial to note that these reports rarely feature quotations from people on the other side of whatever hot-button issue is being, allegedly, covered.

That appears to be the case with the recent Los Angeles Times story that ran under the headline, “Vatican observers look for thaw between Pope Francis, U.S. nuns.”

When the Vatican censured an organization representing thousands of American nuns, it did so in part because the group had not spoken out enough against gay marriage and abortion.

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60 Minutes' 'outrageously slanted' nuns story

CBS released this clip last week, previewing the Sunday 60 Minutes piece. Talk about hard-hitting! Talk about the opposite of obsequious!

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