A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Friday, March 08, 2013
Tom Wright on the Media as Hypocritical Moral Police
I listened in disbelief as John Humphrys interviewed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor on Radio 4's Today programme this week. Surely, he said, like a headmaster addressing an errant teenager, if highly placed people knew about the behaviour of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, somebody in authority should have done something rather than covering it up? I waited for the former archbishop of Westminster, who sounded weary of the whole thing, to come up with any of the phrases that might have stopped the interview in its tracks: "Jimmy Savile"; "BBC"; "people in glass houses". Perhaps he was too polite. So Humphrys pressed on: the church claims it can tell people how to behave, so surely it has to live up to those standards itself?
The joke here is that it is usually the media that tell people how to behave. Yes, the church sometimes "speaks out". But if it's moralising you want, turn on the radio. Or pick up a newspaper. And the institution the media especially love to attack is of course the church. There is a logic to this. The media want to be the guardians of public morality, but some people still see the church that way. Very well, it must be pulled down from its perch to make way for its secular successor.
Don't be fooled when "religious affairs correspondents" look prim and solemn and shake their heads at the latest clerical scandal. They are enjoying every minute of it. It keeps them in a job (did anyone imagine that the real "religious affairs" of this country, the prayerful and self-sacrificial work that goes on under the radar every day of every year, would ever make headlines?). More: it makes it easier to sustain the fiction that the journalists have taken over as the nation's moral police.
The entire post, "The church may be hypocritical about sex, but is no one else guilty?" here.