Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"WOCHA" Gonna Base Your 2008 Vote On?

A couple of years ago, Catholic Answers, the wonderful lay apologetics outfit based in San Diego, run by Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, and others, came up with the "Non-negotiables", the Church teachings that must be adhered to when Catholics make their decisions for whom to vote.

The teachings on issues that are non-negotiable for Catholics are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage.

Tim Drake, a lead writer for the National Catholic Register, based in St. Joseph, Minnesota, has come out with his own list of key Catholic issues. These are the issues that will be most written about by the secular press when the Pope visits the United States next month.

I was wondering how long it would take before the "WOCHA" (Women's Ordination, Contraception, Homosexuality, Abortion) mantra would begin. Five weeks out from the Pope's visit, it looks like Cleveland.com is the first to begin the mantra with this story juxtaposing American disagreements over contraception with the Church's teachings. I coined this term during World Youth Day in Cologne after witnessing reporter after reporter ask young Catholics the same question..."Do you agree with the Church's teaching on...(Insert social topic here)?"

The story does much to show the disagreements, but little to clear them up by actually reporting what it is that the Church teaches, and more importantly, why. It's so completely predictable.

Yesterday, I spoke with Tim Graham, director of media analysis with the Media Research Center

They compiled a special report on the media’s coverage of Pope John Paul II titled “The Life of John Paul II: Shepherd of Souls or Antiquated Authoritarian.”

“What I expect we’ll see is a set of polls that will say that American Catholics as a whole disagree with Pope Benedict on a number of things,” said Graham. “They love to poll Catholics because the sample size is large enough, but they don’t separate out for how many of those they are polling have been inside of a Catholic Church within the last decade.”

“When the media interviews these people, they want to see the Church as out of touch,” said Graham. “Rather, it’s these people they use who are out of touch with the Church.”

Tim Drake (and the National Catholic Register have set up a special website for the Pope's visit in April, Pope2008.com Make sure you link to it a location where you can easily find it. Tim is already posting several articles a day, so start following his reporting now. You'll be be well up to speed and the Envy of Your Neighborhood by the time that the Pope arrives!

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