Sorry there was no post yesterday. Ironically it was because I was away hearing confessions all day at local schools. It turned out well however! Welcome visitors from WDTPRS. It was great to hear from you Father!
One of the early lessons that you learn from Mom is, “Only speak for yourself.” Never say something like, “Everyone hates you.” First of all it is cruel. Now there can be an imagined great number of anonymous persons out there. It is also unhelpful. It leads to questions such as, “Oh yea? Like who? How many? What exactly are they saying?” Now you have to back up your claims (or try to back out of the statement) or end up looking foolish and damaging your position.
Well, perhaps not too many learned that lesson from Mom and now some are journalists. (I know I call journalists to account often here, but it is not out of disrespect for their professions – in fact I value it highly – it’s just that I want who are writing poorly to do a better job which includes research and homework and conveying the material well.) Here is an example from just one article printed in the Akron Beacon Journal, Monday, March 4th, 2003, entitled Catholics Ponder Future Pope by Bradley Brooks of the Associated Press.
“ . . . many parishioners said that the next pope should . . .”
So “many” said this. “Many” out of how many? “Many” out of the ten parishioners with whom you spoke? “Many” as in a poll of a parish was done and 20 out of 300 said so? “Many” as in three quarters? The information becomes almost useless. Are there other groups with “many” in them holding different opinions that are as large as the “many” that the reporter picked? Could it be that the other groups with “many” in them could possibly be saying something that the author of the article does not agree with? Could the “many” in other groups be actually larger? Why does this “many” get carved out?
“Some south African Catholics called for . . .”
How many? 10? 10 is some. So is a million. I could say that “some” of them probably also think that the Easter Bunny is real or that “some” believe that they have been abducted by aliens. Now, tell me that by a scientific pole 1 million practicing Catholics in South Africa think “the Catholic Church should” and you might have a story worth reading.
Later in the article sighting the same “some” it says, “They also suggest ending the celibacy requirement . . .” Who does? Is it Catholics? Is it clergy? Is it dissatisfied clergy?
“Many expect the church to pick . . .”
Who is this completely disassociated, mysterious “many”? Is it the bunch of guys in your office? Is this a “many” that you picked up watching TV or listening to NPR? It may be true. But who are you talking about? Is this a worldwide poll or something you talked about at the bar last night? I would have more respect for this article if the author had written, “I expect the church to pick . . .” It would then at least have some reference: a person, a number, someone who can be verified.
There may be a push to get information out about the papal elections since things are happening so quickly and unexpectedly, but that is no excuse for poor reporting. I’m afraid this article gets an “F”.