Waldron Mercy Academy

Who am I to scrub? Did AP pull story about Pope Francis, teachers and same-sex marriage?

Who am I to scrub? Did AP pull story about Pope Francis, teachers and same-sex marriage?

If you have ever worked for a 24/7 wire service, or worked for a copy desk that deals with wire-service news copy, you know that it's very common for the Associated Press, Reuters and other wires to update stories. Sometimes they even add additional content -- this used to be called a "write-thru" -- that updates a story to make it longer and more complete.

Of course, there are also times when wire-service professionals make mistakes and, thus, their newsrooms issue corrections. Wire corrections are especially important since these organizations produce copy that is literally used in publications all around the world, as opposed to one news publication in one location. Wire mistakes were "viral" long before the digital concept of "viral" was even born.

What is rare, however, is for a wire service to make -- to the best of its ability -- a flawed or incorrect story completely vanish. In the Internet age it is ultra hard to scrub away evidence that a story was published.

However, that appears -- I repeat appears -- to be what happened with the story that GetReligion ripped into yesterday in a post that ran under the headline: "Associated Press editors seem to be saying, 'Who are we to report on Catholic teachings?' "

Now, when I wrote that post, this URL at the Associated Press site took you to a lengthy story that began like this: 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Pope Francis refined his vision for the church last week when he said long-spurned divorced and remarried Catholics should be welcomed with "open doors." And he has famously parsed centuries of thought on homosexuality into a five-word quip: "Who am I to judge?"

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Philly Inquirer stories on fired gay Catholic educator lack some basic questions and answers

Philly Inquirer stories on fired gay Catholic educator lack some basic questions and answers

It’s the same story we've been reading a lot about this year: A Catholic school fires a loyal, some would say "faithful," but gay worker.

The school in question this time is a community on the Philadelphia Main Line extending west out of town. The director of religious education was outed by two parents; one of whom went to the archdiocese of Philadelphia to complain. Consequently, the DRE found herself out of a job.

And to heighten the media drama,  of course, Pope Francis is visiting the area in September. The Philadelphia Inquirer story on it all starts thus:

The e-mail left many parents at the private Catholic school upset and confused. The well-respected director of religious education had just been fired.
Nell Stetser, principal of Waldron Mercy Academy, an elementary school in Merion, sent the e-mail Friday to say that Margie Winters was out of a job after eight years…Winters married her wife in Boston in 2007, seven years before a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania's 18-year-old law banning gay marriage…
Winters said she and her wife "kept a really low profile" about their relationship at the school.
"I actually had a conversation with the principal a few weeks after I was hired to say, how should I handle this," said Winters, adding that she was advised that she could be open about her life with the faculty but to avoid discussing it with students' parents.

So the plot thickens.

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