Seven Ways CNN Gets It Wrong on Bishops’ Residences

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By Joshua Bowman,

from Catholic Vote,

CNN published an inflammatory and provocative piece of link-bait over the weekend criticizing the Catholic Church because some of the larger archdioceses happen to have “lavish homes” for their archbishops. In the process of concern-trolling for a religion he clearly despises, the writer, Daniel Burke, reveals how little he understands about the Catholic Church. Below are just seven ways he gets it wrong.

1. They’re residences, not homes. The mansions included in this article are not the personal property of the bishops, but belong to the diocese.

2. The article compares the bishops to the idle rich, but in truth, the bishops are some of the most hard-working people in the world. [Maybe Mr. Burke] should follow a bishop for a day and they will SEE what they do!

3. The bishops’ residences are not exactly Downton Abbey. There are no armies of servants meticulously polishing the silver … If the bishops have “lavish” furnishings and dinners, it is to raise money for the charities that the Church supports.

4. Why single out Catholics? Perhaps CNN can run a hit-piece on the practice of many Protestant and secular charitable foundations which provide their leaders with multi-million dollar condominiums as a tax-free fringe benefit.

5. Pope Francis may have a small bedroom, but he still lives mere steps from the Basilica of St. Peter. It is exciting and wonderful to watch Pope Francis go out to minister to the people, but perhaps Daniel Burke forgets that basically every Pope has done this, whether they lived in a simple cell or the opulent Apostolic Palace. Indeed, Pope Francis is not the first to eschew the latter.

6. Enemies of the Catholic Church feel free to quote scripture when it suits them … Outward symbols of humility and charity are meaningless and empty show. What matters is what the bishops spend their time doing when they are awake, not where they sleep.

7. It’s easy to accuse the bishops of hypocrisy, but the same could be said of CNN. By Daniel Burke’s logic, the entire clergy–and perhaps the laity too–of the Catholic Church should abandon all worldly possessions and live as Jesus did. As long as a bishop has a warm bed and a homeless man is sleeping on a grate, one can foolishly argue that their positions should be reversed out of fairness.

In the long run, tearing apart these historic homes to make way for micro-apartments will not do very much. Tearing down the Church which has done so much good will ultimately only hurt the poor. The fact is, the Catholic Church has done more to help the poor than any other organization in the history of the world. Perhaps if CNN were interested in pursuing actual journalism, they could write an article about the top-ten Catholic charities that people can support, to, you know, actually help the poor.

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