One of our veteran photojournalists, Marcus Powe, left FOX10 to take a job with the Mobile County Public School system. We will miss his 20 years of experience, but we know our loss will be the gain of his new students at Leflore!
In an attempt to find a headline for Pope Francis’ news conference aboard his return flight to Rome from Brazil, reporters mangled the message.
I don’t really blame them; I don’t think it was intentional. But I do believe that when dealing with theology, it’s important to understand context and nuance; these were lacking in most of the reports I read.
The reporters traveling with the Pope (or the editors back home) missed what he actually said, and in this age of instant news that ricochets around the world with the speed of Twitter, the misinterpretation wound up spreading like an out of control virus.
Father Jonathan Morris, who is a Fox News contributor, put it this way:
“….unfortunately, if you were reading the headlines from some media outlets, you would have learned just one thing. As the Huffington Post put it: “Breakthrough: Pope OK with Gays.”
This is the worst coverage of a religious story I have seen to date.
Let’s begin with the fact that the pope has always been ‘OK’ with homosexuals. In fact, by the demands of his own religion he is required to be much more than just ‘OK.’ The Christian faith teaches that every person is endowed by God with an inviolable dignity and therefore deserves our unconditional respect and love.
A section of an Associated Press report also got the story very wrong. Summarizing the pope’s comments on homosexuals in the priesthood, the AP reported: ‘Francis was much more conciliatory [than Pope Benedict], saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.’
Pope Francis didn’t say that, and the report is wrong on so many levels.
First of all, it suggests that being gay itself, is a sin. What Pope Francis really said, in response to a reporter’s question about homosexual priests who are living a celibate life was this: ‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?’
Pope Francis simply and compassionately reiterated Biblical teaching. The Bible and the Catholic Church have never taught that it is a ‘sin’ to be homosexual. They teach it is a sin to have homosexual sex because it goes against the laws of God’s nature, specifically his plan for human sexuality.
When Pope Francis says ‘who am I to judge’ he is saying—and I think we need to hear more of this from religious leaders—that active homosexuals deserve the same kindness, love, and mercy that all of us sinners would hope to receive from God and from others.
We don’t make judgments about anyone’s personal worth—God has already done that when he created us out of love.”
I have always been a proponent of “beat reporting” – employing journalists who specialize in a particular subject. John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter is an excellent example of someone who deeply understands his subject. Rocco Palmo, who writes a blog called Whispers in the Loggia, is another. In the days when networks made extensive use of beat reporters, Winston Burdett of CBS was a master of religious reporting in Rome.
Assigning reporters who know a little bit about a lot of things doesn’t do our industry, or the public, any favors.
I confirmed tonight that the Bienville Club in downtown Mobile is preparing to close and take with it, a piece of contemporary Mobile history.
Since it opened in 1967, it was THE site for power lunches, featuring downtown business leaders. On the rare occasions I went there (always as the guest of a member), there were never any checks presented, just a receipt that the member signed. The late TV General Manager C.P. Persons had a favorite lunch of boiled, peeled shrimp, and the waiter knew that. It was a good choice.
The view was, and is, spectacular. Diners could look south down the Mobile River, north for miles and east to the USS Alabama and beyond. It was the closest you could get to heaven in Mobile, until the new RSA Tower was completed.
Another HiQ academic season is over with Davidson High School victorious. Click here to see the championship match, thanks to the Mobile County Public School system.
I told the audience who attended the championship at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza that I enjoy being in the company of those who strive to excel, and all the students who compete in HiQ certainly qualify.
I also appreciated the fact that Mobile County’s superintendent, Martha Peek took the time at the end of her day to come to the match, and so did the principals of all 3 schools who competed, Baker, Davidson and McGill-Toolen Catholic.
This was my 25th year asking the questions and over that time, I’ve noticed a distinction between those schools that succeed in HiQ and those who don’t.
All the schools who do well generally fill the auditorium or gym where we have the matches. Some even invite middle school students to try to recruit prospects. Those schools that traditionally do poorly usually only invite a few students to attend or even in some cases, do not allow any students to witness the matches. It’s hard for the students and for me to get pumped up about a competition that takes place in an empty auditorium. (For the record, I have never had a problem with crowd control. One focused stare toward noisy students is usually all it takes!)
A major reason for the competition is to recognize gifted students as role models.
Here’s my question. What does it say to students when you fill the auditorium for football signing day, but show no support for academic achievement?
To me, the answer is a sad one.
Some things stick with you.
- I learned President Kennedy had been shot when I was leaving class in elementary school.
- I found out Pope John Paul I died while I was living in an apartment on Dauphin Street.
- The news of Pope John Paul II’s death reached me as I got off an airplane in Madrid.
I will always remember I heard about Pope Benedict’s resignation the first thing on a Monday morning.
Granted, this Pope is 85 years old, having been elected Pope at an age that most people are enjoying their retirement. Lately, when approaching the altar at St. Peter’s Basilica, he used a moving platform rather than walk the 100 yards down the center aisle. Late last year, people who spent time with the pontiff said they found him weak and too tired to engage with what they were saying.
But his predecessor, John Paul II, suffered from trembling hands and slurred speech, an inability to walk or hold his head up, and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for years and still held the job until he died at the age of 84.
Perhaps this Pope realized he didn’t want his pontificate to end like that. Perhaps there is some underlying personal, medical reason for which we may never know.
Maybe the last two Popes represent different faces of humility. Pope John Paul II, despite displaying symptoms that would have given a lesser person reason to withdraw from public life, purposely used his appearance to show respect for life until the moment of natural death. Pope Benedict, knowing he could have occupied the position for life, in humility chose to renounce the papal throne, to open the way for someone else. As he put it:
… in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
Thanks to a Twitter friend, I read a new version of what happened during the successful rescue of 5 year old Ethan in Midland City this week. The story highlighted the work the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, known as HRT. They train to go into, what appear to be impossible situations, and rescue the innocent while, in FBI terms, stopping the threat.
I had my own experience with the Team during a visit to Quantico, Virginia with FBI sniper Charlie Spaht. I was in the Washington area with Charlie to do some stories about FBI training. While Charlie was visiting his favorite gunsmith at Quantico, he asked me to wait for him outside the HRT headquarters, which was just a short walk from where we were.
I strolled there, enjoying the view when, out of nowhere, a voice boomed out, “LEAVE THIS AREA”.
I addressed what sounded like the Voice of God telling Him I had clearance and was asked to meet another agent there, when I heard:
“LEAVE THIS AREA”.
I told Charlie about this later and he just laughed and said, “They mean business”.
It’s clear from what happened in Midland City, they know their business, too.
On my way back home from downtown Mobile this afternoon, I decided to take a closer look at some of the damage caused by the Christmas EF-2 tornado. I put my iPhone5 into a suction-mount on the windshield, and took a very short drive on South Carlen to Dauphin to North Carlen to Old Shell and back to Dauphin. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive look at all the damage caused, just a taste of it.
I’m still amazed by the power of nature. Some homes were fine while others look like they were destroyed by dynamite. Click on the link to watch the video…