I know, I should drop it. “You just have to get used to it,” so many of you have counselled me. “It’s been that way forever, and it’s so ingrained they don’t even know they’re doing it. So, let it go.”
I’m talking about the common, casual way The New York Times offends Catholic sensitivity, something they would never think of doing — rightly so — to the Jewish, Black, Islamic, or gay communities.
Two simple yet telling examples from one edition, last Friday, October 15.
First there’s the insulting photograph of the nun on page C20, this for yet another tiresome production making fun of Catholic consecrated women. This “gleeful” tale is described as “fresh and funny” in the caption beneath the quarter-page photo (not an advertisement). Granted, prurient curiosity about the lives of Catholic sisters has been part of the nativist, “know-nothing” agenda since mobs burned the Ursuline convent in Boston in the 1840’s, and since the huckster Rebecca Reed’s Awful Disclosures made the rounds in the 19th century. But still now cheap laughs at the expense of a bigoted view of the most noble women around?
Maybe I’m especially sensitive since I just came from the excellent exhibit on the contributions of Catholic nuns now out on Ellis Island. These are the women who tended to the homeless immigrants and refugees, who died nursing the abandoned in the cholera epidemic, who ran hospitals and universities decades before women did so in the non-Catholic sphere, who marched in Selma and today teach our poorest in our inner-city schools. These are the nuns mocked and held-up for snickering in our city’s newspaper.
Now turn to C29. This glowingly reviewed not-to-be missed “art” exhibit comes to us from Harvard, and is a display of posters from ACT UP. Remember them? They invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral to disrupt prayer, trampled on the Holy Eucharist, insulted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was here for a conference, and yelled four letter words while exposing themselves to families and children leaving Mass at the Cathedral. The man they most detested was Cardinal John O’Connor, who, by the way, spent many evenings caring quietly for AIDS patients, and, when everyone else ran from them, opened units for them at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center and St. Clare’s Hospital. Too bad for him. One of the posters in this “must see” exhibit is of Cardinal O’Connor, in the form of a condom, referred to as a “scumbag,” the “art” there in full view in the photograph above the gushing review in our city’s daily.
Thanks for your patience with me. I guess I’m still new enough here in New York City that the insults of The New York Times against the Church still bother me. I know I should get over it. As we say in Missouri, it’s like “spitting into a tornado.”
Tags: The New York Times