Dueling Catholic journalists in Chicago

by Heidi Schlumpf

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Catholic commentator Tom Roeser is hopping mad. But then he's almost always hopping mad. This week, however, he's ticked off at Chicago journalist Carol Marin. But then he's almost always ticked off at her.

In his Monday blog post, Roeser (who wears a number of hats, including as Chicago correspondent for "The Wanderer") took Marin to task for her Saturday column about last week's move toward legalizing civil unions in Illinois.

Marin pointed out in her "Sun-Times" piece that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Mike Madigan and Governor Patrick Quinn are all Catholic.

But then she criticized Bishop John Paprocki of Springfield (originally from Chicago) for public chastening of Quinn for supporting civil unions. "The state doesn’t serve a church or a religious doctrine. It serves its citizens who deserve equal justice under the law," Marin wrote.

While Marin argues that Paprocki has no right to interfere with Quinn doing his (secular) job, Roeser argues that Marin has no right to interfere with Paprocki doing his (sacred) job. And, Roeser says, Quinn opened the door for Paprocki's admonishment because he cited his "faith" (though not specifically Catholicism) as inspiring him to support expanded rights for gays and lesbians.

"This is a stunning and an unwarranted intrusion by a political commentator into a theological area in which she has no competence nor right to use her byline to assault a church," Roeser writes.

Actually, Mr. Roeser, as a member of the media and a Catholic, she does have that right. As do you. Nice to see you're exercising it as well.

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