This has got to be one of the funniest things I have read in a very long time. It proves what low levels paid Catholic apologists will resort to when they have been thoroughly scooped by another publication which wasn't as thoroughly duped.
First Things bent over backwards to castigate the professional qualifications of Jason Berry and Gerald Renney when they first reported on Maciel. These two reporters were called anti Catholic propagandists amongst other lovely things and the National Catholic Reporter and Hartford Courant were villified for attacking a holy 'conservative' icon.
The same kind of attacks are going on in the following article, but in the end First Things can't deny that Maciel really wasn't the man the founder of First Things Fr. Richard Neuhas, thought:
"I am not neutral about the Legionaries. I have spent time with Fr. Maciel, and he impresses me as a man who combines uncomplicated faith, gentle kindness, military self-discipline, and a relentless determination to do what he believes God has called him to do. They are the qualities one would expect of someone who at age twenty-one in Mexico vowed to do something great for Christ and his Church, and has been allowed to do it. In the language of the tradition, they are qualities associated with holiness; in his case a virile holiness of tenacious resolve that has been refined in the fires of frequent opposition and misunderstanding."
But apparently the editorial staff of First Things still retains their opinion of Jason Berry and the NCR.
Maciel & Money
Apr 7, 2010 - Joseph Bottum - First Things
One of the keys to Fr. Maciel’s influence was money, and after the revelations of his sexual misbehavior, those who’ve been less than trusting of the Legion have long been waiting for the other shoe—the news of dubious financial dealings—to drop.
Here at First Things, we’ve been pursuing for several months now an essay on the finances of the Legion in Mexico, but it has proved nearly impossible to find the real figures and the documented level of reporting necessary. (I'm sure it has been to meet your standards which must platinum and Vatican approved.)
And, as it turns out, we may have been looking at the wrong end of the conduit. The National Catholic Reporter finally drops the long-awaited shoe with reporting from Rome.
The piece is very thinly sourced. Here, for example, is the leading indictment in the piece: “One of the ex-Legionaries in Rome told NCR that a Mexican family in 1997 gave Dziwisz $50,000 upon attending Mass.” (Actually I thought the documentation about Cardinals Rode, Sodano and Somalo were the heart of the piece. Buying access to JPII is one thing, but buying stonewalling from relevant dicasteries is a different ballgame.)
That ain’t exactly what any real journalist would call a smoking gun, and the National Catholic Reporter has clearly rushed the story in a patent effort to link up with the media attention focused on the priest scandals in Europe. (And in a effort to tar with the Maciel scandal the conservatives the paper dislikes.) Not a stunning moment in professional Catholic journalism. (Does being a professional Catholic journalist mean one takes money to write the Catholic apologetic line? Just how much Legion and Opus Dei money have you taken to write your 'professional' apologetics?)
But even though the National Catholic Reporter is fumbling here, I’m convinced they are fumbling toward the truth. The secrecy of the finances of the Legion that Fr. Maciel built was an open invitation to corruption—and we already know that he was not a man to resist such invitations. (Only because Jason Berry and the NCR forced you to admit it.)
Joseph Bottum is editor of First Things.
Although I found the above the most humorous of the slew of Catholic apologetic writings surfacing in the last week, others have been just as vociferous about bashing the media and defending Benedict. All of them are using the same excuses that surfaced from the Bishops in 2002 in the US. We are being asked to believe that poor Benedict was just a victim of his times and bad advice. We are essentially being asked to ignore all the facts that say poor Benedict never concerned himself with the victims, that his primary concerns were the reputation of the Church, hiding the fact of the perpetrators, and keeping everything under silence and in house. Well, c'mon, that's the way things were done back then, the system is what it is. He did the best he could.
If that's the best Benedict could do, then what kind of sick system are you guys defending? The same cast of characters which made Benedict's life miserable are still in charge. It's now five years that Benedict has had all the power any man could want to make real change in this sick system. Where are the changes from the man bound and determined to clean up the filth? Are you asking us to believe that Benedict is still a captive prisoner of the sick system since nothing has appreciably changed and not one bishop, not one Cardinal has been held accountable for the cover up? That all Benedict can do is accept resignations when the anti Catholic media forces one to resign?
The fact is that nothing was done by Ratzinger about Maciel until the scandal of the man became public. Courtesy of the Hartford Courant. Nothing was done about Cardinal Groer until the scandal became public. Nothing was done in the US, Ireland, Germany and on and on and on, until the scandal Benedict tried to cover up became public. The real agent of change in cleaning up the filth has not been Ratzinger, it's been the anti Catholic agenda driven media. Certainly not publications like First Things.
Attacking the NCR for being right, essentially because it's left of center, is unbelievable arrogance. Oh well, I'm sure you got paid well to do it. Here's a look at the NCR from a media source that is not a paid Catholic apologist.