National Media Watch

Lawsuit Charges Violation in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, April 5 — The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was joined by two San Francisco residents in charging the city’s Board of Supervisors of violating the First Amendment.

In a suit brought April 4 by the Thomas More Law Center, the plaintiffs are seeking a judgment permanently barring the board from “attacking” religion. They were reacting to a board statement that condemned former San Francisco Archbishop Cardinal William Levada for prohibiting adoptions of children through Catholic Charities by same-sex couples.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano reacted to the lawsuit saying, “These groups ascribe to beliefs that it does violence to children to place them with gay couples. I can’t think of a more un-Christian attitude.”

Richard Thompson, head of the law center, said the anti-Catholic tone of the resolution was “reminiscent of the way the Ku Klux Klan and the Know-Nothings described the Catholic Church in earlier periods of U.S. history.”

Profanity on the Rise

NEW HAVEN REGISTER, March 29 — According to a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll, a majority of Americans say they encounter profanity in public frequently, reported the Connecticut daily.

The poll showed that 74% of Americans encounter bad language frequently or occasionally, with two-thirds saying they feel that people swear more than they did 20 years ago. The survey also found that younger people admit to using foul language more often than those who are older and that men encounter and use bad language more often than women.

Miss Manners, Judith Martin, said the problem is that people who are offended aren’t speaking up.

“Everybody is pretending they aren’t shocked,” said Martin. “Gradually people won’t be shocked. And then those who want to be offensive will find another way.”

Notre Dame President Defends Monologues

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, April 5 — Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, said he received hundreds of letters for and against a controversial play.

But Father Jenkins decided to allow The Vagina Monologues, a frank theater piece about female sexuality and violence against women that includes references to, among other delicate subjects, lesbian relationships.

He told the Tribune that the students who supported The Vagina Monologues will produce another play in November that addresses the experiences of Notre Dame women. Topics will include contraception, abortion and sexual assault, said a student who is writing the play.

Father Jenkins said discussions following performances can aid “fruitful dialogue with the Catholic tradition.”

Diocese to Publish Names of Accused Priests

BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT, March 31 — The Diocese of Joliet will publish on its website the names of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children, said the Illinois daily.

Through a letter, Bishop Joseph Imesch told parishioners that he is taking the step to facilitate healing.

“Any step toward openness, however partial or belated or begrudging, is welcome,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

A class-action lawsuit was filed in February in an attempt to force the diocese to release the names of all priests and employees who have been accused of molestation since the 1950s.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy