The Pope's most recent, and as it turns out, most controversial book is coming out under Ignatius Press, via Fr. Fessio and his well-known intimate friendship with the Pope.
Fr. Fessio is no fool, and he undoubtedly read the book closely, edited it to some extent, the whole nine yards.
Now, I'm no fan of LOR - I think they've been pretty puerile lately - but LOR is being set up as a scapegoat on this condom fiasco.
Ignatius and Fr. Fessio should have seen this coming, especially in the US market.
There is NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH that this passage from the papal interview would not have eventually been seen by the secular press and blown up, whether this week or a month from now doesn't really matter.
LOR happened to scoop the MSM on it, but that's about all they did "wrong," and I'm not sure it's wrong for even the Vatican newspaper to scoop the secular media.
In past articles, on Simpsons or the Beatles or whatever you want to name, we have LOR's juvenile nattering to contend with. But in this article, LOR played it straight - they just quoted what the Pope said.
It isn't LOR's article that causes the trouble, it's the Pope's words, and now, his clarifications. There wouldn't be a problem if the Pope hadn't said something risible.
If Ed was being honest, he would point a finger at Fessio and Ignatius, who should be helping the Pope cover his assets. These guys knew about that passage long before LOR did, and they didn't change it or cut it, so what does that tell you?
Fr. Fessio and Ignatius, for whatever reason, left this in the book so LOR could scoop it out. Ed Peter is shifting the blame onto people who had absolutely nothing to do with any of this mess, besides pointing out that the passage existed. Lots of Catholic bloggers are piling on, in an attempt to pretend that this is all LOR's fault.
But LOR didn't create this nut house.
Ignatius Press, Fr. Fessio and Pope Benedict laid this one out.
Sorry, but you can't point the finger anywhere else.
For all we know, it isn't even the fault of Fr. Fessio and Ignatius.
Perhaps they DID point out the passage as a problem and Benedict vetoed its exclusion.
We don't really know.
But, much as I hate to say it, I don't think LOR can be blamed for this firestorm.
They just happened to be the messenger.
From the Guardian:Update
Now it would appear that the contraceptive effect disappears in the light of health imperative; it is even, apparently, true that married couples may now use condoms when one of them is infected.
This is a huge shift in understanding. It has opened a genuine split in the church, as our reports from Africa make clear. And that is precisely why the liberals, who have won this fight, are now anxious to claim that nothing much has happened. It is an iron rule of Catholic argument that teaching never changes: it only develops. And the more it in fact changes, the more necessary it is to explain that this is only development and a deeper exposition of what the church has always taught.
A liberal friend of mine just spent about five minutes explaining that the church had always been in favour of prostitutes using condoms, and had never held that they were intrinsically evil, and that all it had been looking for was a chance to clarify this point without misleading its enemies. So there was no change here, no doctrinal change at all … then he added "But now the Pope has told the right-wingers to fuck off! That changes everything."
John Allen of NCR essentially agrees LOR did nothing wrong.
Given the source, I'm not sure it's a good thing to have him agree with me, but there it is.