Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Mic'd Up": The Catholic Establishment Media

Last night’s (Sept. 4) “Mic’d Up” show ran for two hours - it's embedded below, or you can use the link - and I could have listened for another hour. 

I wasn’t the only one listening in: the chat room showed that at one point there were over 1900 viewers. “Mic’d Up” generally has a 200-300 viewers in the chat room, so this was clearly a topic that drew in many other Catholics. Dave Armstrong was there, by the way.

Here’s the pre-show description of the discussion:

Are some members of the big name Catholic Media deliberately refusing to tell the whole truth about various corruptions in the Church? Are they benefiting from their silence? And are they blackballing -- and conducting smear campaigns against whistle-blowing faithful Catholics who expose the corruption

Basically, MV gave a more-or-less chronological list of incidents that illustrate the persecution, deception, and defamation he and his apostolate have endured from bishops and mainstream Catholic media folks since the inception of St. Michael’s Media in 2005.

The first part of the show, though, highlighted the experience of Mr. Jay McNally, who wrote about his appearance on “Mic’d Up” at his website:

I’m going to talk about my experience as a journalist in the Catholic world. I was employed 10 years full-time (1990-2002) as the editor of two Catholic newspapers, The Michigan Catholic (the official paper of the Archdiocese of Detroit) and Credo, an independent weekly published by Tom Monaghan. Additionally, I’ve written for most of the big national Catholic publications. So I think I know the subject well.

…So I’m looking forward to the show. I’m intending to explain for the first time publicly some stuff that went on in Detroit’s chancery when I was there and afterwards, and in the Diocese of Lansing that I witnessed personally.

Mr. McNally told his story of losing his job as editor of the Diocesan newspaper because of his insistence on knowing and reporting the truth about why a priest had been removed from ministry. Although there was widespread knowledge that the charges involved pedophilia, the Diocese would not acknowledge that fact and would not allow it to be reported. Insisting on the truth resulted in the loss of his job.

Mr. McNally also notes on his website:

None of this fits the narrative that the “Professional Catholic” class puts forth.

The narrative of the “Professional Catholic” goes something like this: Whatever is wrong or was wrong with the Catholic Church is mostly behind us, and there’s no good reason to dwell on the negatives. The “Professional Catholics” instead focus on what’s good and wholesome in the Church and rail against the bad stuff in the culture.  

In the second part of the show, MV told the St. Michael’s Media story. He noted that, in the beginning, the focus of his apostolate was also on the “bad stuff in the culture”, rather than on the “bad stuff” in the Church. But even then, St. Michael’s Media was running into opposition. At the very beginning of the venture, MV’s pastor at the time told him to “stay in the middle” of issues.

Taping of the serious “One True Faith” began in the summer of 2006, with visits from officials of the Archdiocese of Detroit, who are all smiles. A couple of months later, in the fall of 2006, the show began airing locally in Detroit, and then more diocesan TV stations began to add the show to their line-ups – Fresno and Brooklyn were among these. In October 2006, the Archdiocese of Boston accepted the show; a contract and schedule were sent, and the first season’s shows were sent out.

Then, in November 2006, a Boston Archdiocese insider let MV know that the Archdiocese of Detroit had effectively undermined the deal: “The manager says as long as the AOD doesn’t approve of you, we won’t work with you.” But to MV’s face the AOD would only say that MV and company weren’t “following protocol”, not that there was anything wrong with the content of the shows. In fact, in a meeting with AOD leadership, MV brought along a very well-credentialed theologian who said there was nothing wrong with the material.  

The story goes on. It is well worth listening to because it discloses something that needs to be corrected. And the problem was present even before MV’s apostolate reached its turning point.

That turning point, MV says, was Obama’s appearance at the Notre Dame University commencement exercises in May of 2009.  It was at that point that he saw quite clearly that there must be something very, very wrong within the Church if a man like Obama could be invited and honored at Notre Dame. MV reports this experience (paraphrased):

The week before Obama went to Notre Dame, I was asked by a group of canon lawyers in Rome and elsewhere to ask our audience and viewers to say a prayer that a last ditch 11th hour canon law effort might work to prevent Obama from going there.

I shared that with a friend at a Catholic Establishment Media local radio station.  That friend then informed some of the leadership – very recognizable names.  I got a call from one of those “names” later in the day asking for more details.

I said I wasn’t at liberty to reveal more details but that she should watch the Vortex episode. That’s was all I could say.

When the canon law effort quite obviously failed because it was filed too late, this same woman told my friend that my name was no longer allowed to be used on their airwaves – that I was unreliable, what I say can’t be proved, etc.

Well – four year later – now I CAN say AND prove what I was saying was true. I not only had deep inside information that a petition had been filed to use canon law to prevent Obama from stepping foot on campus – but I was the petitioner – (here is the petition) a fact that at the time, folks in Rome instructed me to keep from the public because in their assessment, it might hamper the case.

For the record, MV displayed the petition that had been filed. And frankly, this one piece of information – that a petition had actually been filed in Rome to prevent Obama from appearing and being honored at Notre Dame – gave my spirits a boost.

There was much more, and even if I could transcribe the whole 2-hour show, a written version would not do it justice. Go! Watch the video!

The bottom line is MV’s 2-fold question to his critics in the mainstream Catholic media:

First, why don’t you report on these issues?

Second, whatever your reasons for not reporting, why do you bash and malign and undermine the work of those who do?

I think those are both important questions, and as MV concludes, “This conversation needs to be had.”

And, by the way, Dave Armstrong is meeting with MV next Tuesday. That’s a start!

Here's the video:

1 comment:

  1. It was such an interesting show! I started watching about half an hour in after Patrick kept me from getting downstairs until 8:30. Definitely worth watching!


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