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Universalis

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Religion headlines...nothing new folks just move along

GetReligion blog has the links to bad reporting on the death of an Indian woman in Ireland.

I wondered whether about the journalistic rigor being applied to the story, both in terms of the medical statements being made prior to a review as well as the blame being assigned the Catholic Church. In short, the claims that were made about what happened in the hospital and the blame assigned to the Catholic Church weren’t exactly matching up with evidence or with Catholic teaching.
None of this stopped the rather dramatic rush to judgment.
they especially cover the debunking at the UKTelegraph:
The journalist who broke the story about Savita Halappananvar’s tragic death now admits that the facts were “a little muddled”.
In an astonishing radio interview, Kitty Holland of The Irish Times admits that her report was based on the husband’s version of events, but that in fact there may have been “no request for a termination”. Her earlier account stated that Mrs Halappananvar, an Indian in Ireland who was expecting a baby, had begged for a termination when complications arose with the birth; hospital staff denied her the abortion, allegedly saying: “This is a Catholic country”.
Holland’s exclusive tale of the tragic death made headlines around the world. Pro-abortion groups seized upon the story to condemn any review of abortion laws. Protesters chanting “Never again!”marched in Irish cities. Holland’s report ensured that abortion was hailed as a life-saving operation; that it should be cruelly denied a young woman was further proof (if any were needed) that the Catholic Church was backward and barbarian.
Except that none of this may be quite as it seems.


In a second article Tim Stanley’s piece for the Telegraph, he raises some important points about media ethics:
Perhaps what was most disturbing about the Savita story is how it was leaked to pro-choice activists before it was broken by the Irish Times. At least three days before the story went public, Irish Choice Network was notified by email that “a major news story in relation to abortion access is going to break in the media early this coming week,” and that it would be followed by a pre-arranged protest. We can infer that someone at either the Irish Times or the Health Services Executive conspired to use a private tragedy to push a political agenda. It’s all very Alinsky.
Run a news search on Savita’s death and you’ll find very little in the mainstream press that addresses these problems or, more importantly, corrects earlier false reports. It’s as if the story never happened. Perhaps it would have been better if it hadn’t. Rather than waiting for a proper investigation of what went wrong, some chose to broadcast the opinions of understandably distressed family members as if they were indisputable facts. And the commentary accompanying the journalism drew a straight, short line between an individual’s death and the Catholic Church. The takeaway: Catholicism kills.
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And it's Christmas, so the latest book to bash Christians imagines Mary as a bitter 20th century women's libber who hates god and her son.

Mark Shea at Catholic world report has a snarky review of the book:

In terms of content, the book is a by-the-numbers hatchet job written in sensitive, spare, and poetic diction for the delectation of UK and New York Chattering Classes and dipped in a bath of relentless, willful sadness and bitterness. The basic premise is that it has been 20 years since the crucifixion, and Mary is one nasty hag, sounding for all the world like a nun in iron grey, short-cropped hair and sensible shoes who has seized the microphone in a We Are Church group process breakout session and is now on the third hour of an extended free association monologue, grousing bitterly about the patriarchy. 
Bravely facing the applause of the UK and New York media, Tóibín advances the absolutely original thesis that Jesus was totally misunderstood by his corrupt, repressed, knucklehead disciples, who got all het up about him for no particular reason and did the whole “Son of God” schtick after his death. Tóibín’s Mary lives alone in Ephesus, relying on these disciples for her daily bread, marinated in judgmental bitterness, and filled with sullen contempt for everything.

my problem is not just that this is a politically correct blasphemous libel of a woman beloved by the religions followed by half the people in the world (Christians and Muslims).

The real problem is that, as a doc who has worked cross culturally for much of my career, the book ignores how such a person would think and act. And the answer is not like a 20th century bitter feminist nun.

How can a "historical" novel be praised when it gets the culture wrong?

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and Fides writes about a Cardinal's memorial for the leader of a local Islamic group.
"A man of relations, a man of God, whose wisdom revealed he was profoundly inhabited by God": said Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr, Archbishop of Dakar, remembering in a message sent to Fides, Serigne Mouhamadou Mansour Sy, Caliph General of Tidjaniyya, one of the most important Sufi brotherhoods in Senegal. "Future generations are already enriched by the image of an ardent defender of social peace and a guide who always led far away from the paths of radical religious fundamentalism that disrupts the world today,"

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