The Catholic News Agency needs a brush up course on journalism. This post takes issue with Mark Silk's posts at Religion News Service. CNA quotes Archbishop Charles Chaput's spokesman, Kenneth Gavin, saying of Silk and other bloggers "Some blogs are like videogames; they invent their own reality." The underlying issue that Silk raised is pretty straightforward. In a public debate, GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez defended his support for the death penalty saying he has discussed the issue with +Chaput, who was then the Archbishop of Denver. Beauprez said, "He [Chaput] said, “Bob, you pray on it, sleep on it, reach the conclusion that is right for your soul.” And he said, “I’ll back you up, because church doctrine is not anti–death penalty.” I want to be very clear about that." Silk reported what Beauprez said and wondered why +Chaput had not stepped forward to clarify the situation - after all, confusion is from the devil.
It is interesting that CNA does not link to Silk's story. Instead, they merely recite the man instances where +Chaput, rightly, expressed his opposition to the death penalty. I do not doubt that +Chaput opposes the death penalty. I suspect Mr. Beauprez may be bending the truth about their conversation - not the first or last time a politician would bend the truth. But, I am also betting that if a pro-choice candidate made a similar claim about a conversation with +Chaput, the denials would be immediate and very clear.
If CNA wants to be a respected news outlet, they need to be at least a tad skeptical when diocesan spokespeople provide them with information. Poor Mr. Gavin has had a rough month cleaning up for his boss. But, if you are going to challenge Mark Silk, who knows a lot about boht the Catholic Church and about journalism, you need to do better than this.