Authors Speculate if Media Reports Are Intentional
ROME, OCT. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- With new charges against Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, it appears that the secular media are trying to cast doubts on the reputation of two saintly world figures.
A recent story from Time magazine speculated on whether John Paul II was euthanized by the removal of feeding tubes during his last days.
The story was prompted by the speculation of Dr. Lina Pavanelli, an anesthesiologist in Italy. Time magazine reported that the doctor "believes that the Pope's doctors dutifully explained the situation to him, and [Pavanelli] surmises that it was the Pontiff himself who likely refused the feeding tube after he'd been twice rushed to the hospital in February and March."
Pavanelli's speculation, originally publi! shed in May, was picked up by the Italian press and Time magazine, but not until after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document in mid September, explaining the moral guidelines for providing food and water for patients in the "persistent vegetative state."
George Weigel, author of "Witness to Hope," a biography of John Paul II, told ZENIT: "Pavanelli is either ignorant or malicious -- perhaps both.
"The Italian left is unhappy with the Vatican over its recent statement on care for patients in a vegetative state; this is the revenge they take.
"No serious person will take this seriously."
Before the latest scuffle over the events surrounding John Paul II's death, there was the much publicized discussion of Mother Teresa's experience of feeling a deep sense of doubt about God's existence.
Secular media cast doubts upon Mother Teresa's sincerity! , given her strong temptations against faith. Time magazine again reported on the phenomenon.
Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of Mother Teresa's cause and editor of the book of her writings, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light," told ZENIT: "First of all, we need to recognize that the aspects of the Christian spiritual life discussed in the book are not so well known or easy to grasp, and for some, to accept, even among committed Christians -- e.g., 'Why do the saints have to suffer so much?'
"With regard to the secular media, I think one basic reason why Mother Teresa's darkness has been misinterpreted is the superficiality with which the darkness was treated.
"The Time [magazine] piece for the most part, apart from the title and cover photo, tried to present the nuances of Mother Teresa's darkness."
The priest continued: "Many others just jumped on some expressions of M! other Teresa and thus entirely misrepresented the darkness, for example one headline was: 'Mother Teresa's Secret: I Have No Faith.' Some may have done so out of ignorance and others out of an effort to discredit her.
"Perhaps some who have lost their faith, or have little or no faith, felt 'justified' in some way, thinking: 'If even Mother Teresa had no faith or at least doubted her faith, then how do you expect me to have faith?' And others in the 'culture wars' were happy to discredit one of the other side's heroes.
"Those who have no experience or expertise in spirituality or psychology should have the good sense and humility not to presume to analyze what is indeed so far beyond them."
Father George Rutler, author of "Coincidentally," published by Crossroad Books, and a regular columnist for Crisis magazine, told ZENIT that journalists often have their role backward: "Journalism is supposed to report events. Bloa! ted egos in journalism think they should shape events.
"This unfortunately encourages a significant minority actually to lie to achieve an end. When there is no confidence in objective truth, all is propaganda, just as in politics, justice is replaced with sheer power."
The commentator also acknowledged that faulty reporting is not always intentional: "Having worked with the media for a long time I have learned that most of those involved in the various media are not willfully deceitful. Many of them are limited by a lack of formation."