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Steyn: Media preoccupation with gay marriage, abortion in papal coverage ‘completely ridiculous’

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

In covering the selection of Pope Francis I, many in the media speculated as to whether the new head of the Roman Catholic Church would take a more liberal theological position on homosexuality and abortion.

But in his regular Thursday appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Mark Steyn, author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” viewed that media speculation along with other “trivial” aspects of the coverage to be ridiculous considering the church has held those same beliefs for thousands of years now.

“Well, you know, I think the papal coverage in the so-called serious media, particularly in the United States but elsewhere, too, has been completely ridiculous,” he said. “And in fact whatever one feels about this new pope and however he turns out, the great thing about a new pope is it ends all the speculation on the pope coverage from CNN and The New York Times.”

“I mean, this idea, the parochialism of it, the idea that somehow the American media’s preoccupations — gay marriage and abortion, should also be the preoccupations of the oldest continuously functioning entity in the world, the Catholic Church has basically been, unlike AOL-Time Warner or whatever it’s called this week, the Catholic Church has actually been operating under the same name for a couple of thousand years now,” he continued. “And the shallowness and the trivial nature of the coverage right down to the stupidity of CNN announcing that this was the first non-European Pope, apparently thinking that, you know, St. Peter was a nice Milan boy or whatever, has utterly shamed — and the fact that these guys have to go to Columbia Journalism School to talk this kind of ignorant codswallop to the world, is amazing to me.”

Steyn’s take on the root cause of this was that such positions on those issues are played up in a secular world by elite institutions. He then traced how homosexuality was viewed throughout time as evidence to back his claim it was “ridiculous” for an institution as old as the Catholic Church to take a position that has only been around for the last two generations.

“I think it testifies to the fact that for many in the secular world, in the elite institutions of the secular world such as the media, the sort of liberal pieties, the orthodoxies, the dogma of the age, are a kind of substitute — are a kind of substitute religion, the one true faith which has its own sacraments,” Steyn said. “And you have to believe in those sacraments, like abortion and gay marriage and all the rest. And whatever one believes on the question of same-sex marriage, there’s nothing in two thousand years of Christendom to indicate that the Catholic Church is anything but opposed to it.”

“So if you take the Catholic Church seriously as an institution, an institution that goes back to St. Peter, whereas the idea of homosexuality as a 24/7 identity actually only reaches back about two generations,” he continued. “I mean, in the 19th century, homosexuality was an act. It was something you did. Then in the late 19th century, it kind of became a condition. It was regarded as a kind of illness. And then since the 1960s, early 70s, it’s been regarded now as in fact a positive identity. And one or another of those may be correct. But if you’re the Catholic Church, and you’ve been in this game for two thousand years, the idea that the orthodoxies of the last two generations trump the previous two millennia is looking at it from the wrong end of the telescope.”

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