By Anne Hendershott
In the past few weeks, there has been an escalation of the attacks against the Church in places like the Archdiocese of San Francisco where Sam Singer, the head of a high priced Public Relations firm, was hired to wage war on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone because of the archbishop’s strong defense of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Organizing protests, and enlisting the local media to help him in his battle against the archbishop, Singer has been successful in waging a well-funded media war on the Church and her teachings.
Likewise, in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, a battle began last week against a priest who gave permission to show a pro-life film, To Be Born, to a sixth grade CCD class. Described in the local newspaper as holding “rabid anti-abortion views,” the priest—a pastor who is beloved and greatly respected by his faithful parishioners at St. Monica’s Catholic Church—was called a “bully” in a front page story of the Wilkes Barre newspaper. Unfortunately, instead of fighting back with the truth of Catholic teachings on the sanctity of life, the priest has appeared to accept the criticism of showing a pro-life film to “sensitive” sixth graders by admitting that he “showed poor judgment” in allowing the pro-life film to be shown. The CCD teacher who showed the pro-life film has resigned. She was already under attack from parents because she had the temerity to disclose to her students that “not everyone goes to Heaven.”
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Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author ofStatus Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; andThe Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).