"Hypocrisy," He Exclaims

July-August 2000

Our reader Guy McClung of Spring, Texas, sent us page 4 of the May 19 Commonweal with the word “Hypocrisy” scrawled over it.

What ticked him off was a reply from the Editor of Commonweal to a letter from Mary Reed of Alexandria, Virginia. Reed identified herself as “a loyal reader” of Commonweal, but said she was “extremely disappointed to see” an ad for the book A Brief, Liberal, Catholic Defense of Abortion in the March 24 Commonweal. Reed indicated that she was under the impression that Commonweal is a Catholic magazine and that therefore ads in Commonweal would reflect “Catholic identity,” adding that “There is nothing Catholic about abortion.” Touché.

The Editor’s reply is most revealing: “One essential aspect of Commonweal’s Catholic identity is its commitment to reasoned debate on disputed questions. Thus Commonweal is open to the views of...those who disagree with the teachings of the church. That disagreement, however, must be presented in an intellectually responsible and respectful manner. An advertisement for a book that tries to make a philosophical case for legal abortion from within the Catholic tradition meets that standard...”

In case the reader doesn’t buy into this sell-out of the Faith, the Editor adds this all-purpose disclaimer: “running an advertisement does not imply an endorsement...”

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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2000

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