National Catholic Reporter does take heat from some Catholics for circulating fact-based stories about how some American Catholics deal with their gay brothers and sisters. Yesterday, when Dennis Coday linked to a NewsHounds article about Father Jonathan Morris of Fox News in his "Morning Briefing" column, several readers of Coday's column vehemently objected.
The NewsHound commentary by a blogger named Priscilla characterizes Father Morris as "the cute little Catholic priest, the only clergyperson with a full time Fox News gig, pimp for the conservative Catholic bishops and the GOP," who has willingly colluded with right-wing evangelicals to spread a homophobic message to American Christians. As his Fox bio notes, Father Morris studied business administration at Franciscan University in Steubenville and then got a licentiate from Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome. He was "theological advisor" to Mel Gibson (!) for the making of Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ." He contributes to Fox news programs and the Wall Street Journal.
Interestingly enough, what the Fox news bio doesn't mention is that Regina Apostolorum is sponsored by the now-disgraced Legionaries of Christ, whose founder Father Marcial Maciel, it's now accepted even by the Vatican, raped Legionary seminarians for years, fathered several children by several women (and raped some of those children), was a drug addict, and liberally greased the palms of top Vatican officials to obtain leniency as the sordid details of his story became widely known.
As Father Morris's bio at Wikipedia notes, he himself was a member of the Legionaries of Christ, though he appears to have avoided being identified with the Legionaries on camera--and his Fox bio also suggests his intent to conceal this aspect of his résumé.
And so here's what a reader named Esteban tells Dennis Coday for daring to link to the NewsHound article in his "Morning Briefing" column yesterday:
Your running the slur piece about the priest on FOX was slanderous and irresponsible. Branding people as "Christian homophobes" because they disagree with you is beneath contempt.
A reader named David Lorenz agrees:
I agree. I thought the article was simply idiotic.
But Ed Gleason responds:
I too think it was idiotic since it did not mention he was trained/ordained in Legionaries of Christ seminary.
I agree with Ed Gleason. If we're going to talk "beneath contempt," I'd be more inclined to talk about Marcial Maciel and his Legionaries of Christ, along with those who defend the Legionaries. And about Fox news, for that matter.
Not about NewsHound.