NBC Was Disappointed That Asian Cardinal Was ‘No Reformer’

-By Warner Todd Huston

Catching up on how the media treated the days before Pope Francis became the new leader of the Catholic Church, as the Vatican hosted its conclave, NBC looked into the work of Asian Cardinal Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle–a possiblePapal candidate–and came to the sad conclusion that he was just as traditional as any other cardinal. As NBC ruefully noted, Tagle is “no reformer.”

NBC started out on a hopeful note: “On the face of it Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio ‘Chito’ Tagle has a lot going for him as a contender for pope. He’s young: At 55, the second youngest of the cardinals. He sings and preaches on television, and has 120,000 followers on Facebook.”

He was hip, young, and he’s into technology. And apparently, simply because he’s Asian, NBC wondered if he would toe a liberal line and be one who would institute “social reform” if he became Pope.

But NBC went on to note that Cardinal Tagle is as staunchly against contraceptives as any other traditional cardinal, a stance that is a chief tenet of the Church.

NBC pointed out that in a recent debate on a national healthcare law that included government-sponsored contraception for Philippine women, Tagle and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines “declared that ‘contraception is corruption!’ and that the moral fiber of the nation was at risk.”

This strict adherence to Church doctrine, NBC claimed, made Tagle less desirable as a Papal candidate.

NBC’s report gravely concluded:

But his is not the easy charm of a social reformer. Far from it. And reformers here in Manila fear that in the knockabout world of Philippine politics, a strong performance by Tagle in Rome could strengthen the hand of conservatives at home fighting what many regard as much-needed reforms.

This was of a piece with the Old Media’s coverage of the elevation of the next Pope. Traditional Church doctrine was almost universally looked upon as archaic and even dangerous while calls for “reform” filled reports from coast to coast.

Over the weekend of March 2, for instance, Sally Quinn told CBS’ Bob Schieffer that the Catholic Church is, “on the way to irrelevancy if they don’t start including women and certainly people of other color and ultimately homosexuals.”

This liberal focus on “reform” to the exclusion of actual Church doctrine was the recurring theme of coverage of the events in Rome.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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Copyright Publius Forum 2001