Dissent is Not Objectivity

Dissent is Not Objectivity

Here’s Ken Briggs’ National Catholic Reporter commentary in a nutshell: “How can Crux be considered journalism if it doesn’t treat heterodoxy as a valid approach to Catholicism?”

Briggs is concerned at Crux’s move from the control of the Boston Globe to the Knights of Columbus, and especially that editor John Allen won’t be open to publishing dissent as an alternative to, you know, actual Church teaching.

The Knights have legitimately and powerfully advocated for and bankrolled every significant religious and ethical movement that the pope and the bishops have appealed for over the years, from opposition to abortion and artificial birth control to defense of an all-male priesthood and banning of same sex marriage.

These are not simply “movements” by the popes and bishops. These are the Church’s valid teachings from time immemorial, the unchanging bedrock of doctrine based on the teachings given by Christ to the Church and safeguarded by her since then. And look at how he phrases them all in the negative. The Church isn’t simply “opposed to abortion”; she values every human life from conception to natural death. She’s not opposed to artificial birth control; she acknowledges that fruitfulness of marriage comes from total self-giving between husband and wife. She doesn’t just ban same-sex marriage; she recognizes that marriage is, and always has been, a union of man and woman.

Briggs seems to think that for religion journalism to be taken seriously, it has to treat even those who dissent from a religion’s core tenets and beliefs as equal-standard bearers for that faith. That’s not objectivity. In the case of the Catholic Church anyway, it’s journalistic advocacy for dissent.

Just as, for example, the Democratic National Committee gets to decide what its official party platform is–no matter what some fringe group of activists insists–so too does the Church’s teaching get decided, not by the fringe dissenters, but by her bishops in union with the pope.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli