For the record

There is a curious reference to an unnamed "liberal Catholic magazine" in the May 3 Weekly Standard. It comes a few pages into a lengthy article by Joseph Bottum, the editor of First Things, about the current wave of sex-abuse revelations and allegations and the attending "hysteria" ("Anti-Catholicism, Again"):

Liberal Catholics see the scandals as a chance to discredit conservatives, and conservatives as a chance to discredit liberals.... The left-leaning National Catholic Reporter declares it the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history, and another liberal Catholic magazine demands theological reform, to be achieved by arraigning Benedict in the Dock.

Emphasis mine. A quick Google search might lead one to suspect the "liberal Catholic magazine" in question is Commonweal, since we recently used the phrase "Benedict in the Dock" as the title of an editorial on the sex-abuse scandal. The only problem is that nothing else in that half-sentence matches Commonweal's position in the slightest. Neither that editorial nor anything else we've published called for the pope to be arraigned, even metaphorically. Is it possible for a reader to mistake our headline as a call to "[Put] Benedict in the Dock"? If so, simply going on to read the editorial (or even just the first sentence) would certainly correct that impression. As for "demand[ing] theological reform," you won't find that in our editorial either. (I double-checked!)Last June, Bottum wrote in the Standard about Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to be its commencement speaker. That essay contained several similar mischaracterizations and distortions regarding Commonweal and this blog. Here's hoping it won't happen again.

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

Also by this author
Prayers for Japan

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Religion
Culture
Collections