A Time Out for Time Magazine

December 2000

When Time magazine does a feature piece on the Catholic Church, don't think for a minute, dear reader, that Time is on our side. Take, for example, David Van Biema's article on the beatification of Pope Pius IX (Sept. 4): Whom should Van Biema marshal in his contrived debate on Pio Nono but none other than Garry Wills (of Papal Sin infamy) -- this in an attempt to heap ridicule on one of the Church's most steadfast defenders.

Van Biema paints, as best he can, Pio Nono as an out-of-control megalomaniac who invented the doctrine of Papal Infallibility in order to shut up his Modernist opponents. Taking Pio Nono out of his historical context, Van Biema derides his methods and character. In delivering the obligatory aspersions of anti-Semitism, Van Biema doesn't seem to realize that the mission of the Church is to evangelize and that Jesus -- who was not known for His soft hand -- got it all started by evangelizing the Jews first. If that qualifies as anti-Semitism, then by Van Biema's measure, the Messiah is a bigot and none of the Apostles would qualify for sainthood.

Van Biema's polemic can be summed up in one quote: "He was truly pious. However, he was also...bullying." Loosely translated: "Yeah, he was a goody-two-shoes, but sometimes he was really mean!" Come on, Van Biema, grow up! You're not in kindergarten anymore and this isn't a contest to see who gets to be kickball monitor. For your tantrum, you and your pouty, thumb-sucking friends deserve a time out.


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New Oxford Notes: December 2000

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