Friday, September 5, 2008

Terri Gross and Catholic Priests

Terri Gross is the host of NPR's Fresh Air radio program. It is one of my favorite shows, and I appreciate her skill and style as an interviewer. However, there was at least one show where her "liberal" bias shown through in such a way that I thought it diminished the quality (and a little bit, the integrity) of the show. My intention in this post is not to argue one way or another if the media are on the whole liberal or not. But a show last year (or maybe a few years ago) where she interviewed two Catholic priests was illustrative of a liberal approach to homosexuality and the church. One priest was gay (not sure if his employers knew or not) and another was a priest who thought that homosexuals should not be part of the priesthood. Terry interviewed each person individually. At this point I don't remember the entire conversation with either priest, but one thing, or rather one question has stuck in my mind. Terri, speaking to the priest who opposed gay priests, asked, who are you to say whether or not a priest can have a different sexual orientation? Who are you to pronounce judgement on another's choices? Fair enough. The priest answered very calmly and explained that he was not anyone to judge or decide what's right or wrong. But, he said, God's moral nature determines moral laws. His (the priest's) opinion is not what makes the gay priest unacceptable; rather, it is God who has set up moral law, which is now Catholic doctrine. Now, I am not a Catholic, and it is also not my intent here to argue whether or not gay priests should be accepted by the church. I would like to point out though, that Terri asked no such challenging questions of the gay priest. I can't help but think that to be fair she should have asked a similar question. How about, who are you to judge and condemn a millenia old institution no one is forcing you to join? Who are you to tell a whole community of people that they must change their beliefs to accommodate yours? Or, more to the point, who are you to tell God (for in the view of Catholics, and Christians in general, it is God who has established Christian morality) that he must change his views? Why didn't Terri ask the tough questions to the gay priest? It would only be fair. But her assumption from the start was that the gay priest was correct and the other one wrong. Just an observation.

P.S. If I have any liberal readers gnashing teeth over this post, don't. The main reason you won't find much criticism of conservative authors/bloggers/talk show hosts here is that I can't stand most of them and don't waste my time reading or listening to them.

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