Tracking John L. Allen Jr, the highest paid professional journalist paid both by NCR and the Vatican trillion dollar Bank
Our constitution in the USA guarantees us the freedom of speech and we have a right to critic and expose all public figures and events (president, pope, cardinals, celebrities) and public writers and authors (novelists, newspaper writers such as John L. Allen Jr, the foremost Vaticanista) because they affect our daily lives. Thanks to our first exposures of John L. Allen Jr. of NCR, other professional journalists are picking up on his Vatican ways of deception. This post will keep track of them from the most recent.
Our posts on John L. Allen Jr in our sister weblogs: The John Paul II Millstone and Benedict XVI Ratzinger: God's Rottweiler
John L. Allen Jr the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI toots “Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?” http://jp2army.blogspot.com/2010/04/john-allen-of-ncr-pied-piper-of.html
Biggest Vatican stories of the decade: John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army committed Holy ES Eucharist-and-Sodomy of Biblical proportions http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2010/01/biggest-vatican-stories-of-decade-john.html
Catholic websites & Benedict XVI's spiritual penance versus Secular government’s justice of monetary compensation & jail time http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010_01_01_archive.html
John Allen (defender of the Vatican Trinity,i.e. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Opus Dei) surreptitiously undermine SNAP's financial campaign http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2009/12/john-allen-defender-of-vatican.html
Benedict XVI’s professional media spinners: Note the selected words they put in their titles, ‘dismayed’, ‘shocked’ for papal crocodile tears http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/benedict-xvis-professional-media.html
New York Times
April 21, 2010, 12:26 pm
The Pontiff and the Press
Here’s John Allen, analyzing the Vatican’s approach to the abuse firestorm in the wake of Benedict’s private meeting with sex abuse victims on his trip to Malta:
By insisting that these meetings occur only in private and without media coverage, the pope has also demonstrated a determination that they not become public spectacles – in part, perhaps, to avoid impressions of exploiting the victims to score PR points.
… by refusing to offer any other public comment on the crisis, including any sort of response to mounting criticism of his own record, Benedict’s calculation appears to be that he’s not going to seek to win over secular public opinion. That’s a project, by the way, that a growing chorus of senior church officials regards as a losing proposition, since they believe the secular deck is stacked.
Ultimately, the gamble implied in this behind-the-scenes strategy is this: Over the long run, will the pope win points for his refusal to follow the spin-saturated crisis management strategies typically employed by politicians, sports stars and corporate CEOs? In other words, will his public reticence seem more like sincerity than denial?
Nobody who cares about the Catholic Church should want to see Pope Benedict engage in a “spin-saturated crisis management strategy.” But the “we can’t win, so why respond?” approach to unfair press treatment has a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, the media deck is stacked against Catholicism. Yes, there are reasons why this pope, in particular, is unlikely to get a fair shake from the secular commentariat. But the church is a missionary organization, the secular world is its missionary field, and influencing “secular public opinion” is one of its most important tasks. And that means finding effective ways to engage with the mass media, even — or especially — when you’re facing a storm of criticism.
Such engagement doesn’t require apologizing for the sex abuse crisis every time you make a public statement, or letting the scandal overshadow the liturgies of Holy Week. But it requires recognizing how the media works, how different statements and gestures get covered, and how you can get out ahead of a story instead of letting your critics shape the narrative.
What does this mean in practice? Well, the latest wave of press coverage began with a series of allegations from Germany, including one that touched the pope himself: The case of an abusive priest who was returned to ministry in Munich when Benedict, then Joseph Ratzinger, was that city’s archbishop. This was, and remains, the most legitimate of all the incidents cited in the brief against the pope’s record on sex abuse — and so the Vatican should have taken it seriously, rather than swatting it away. I think the last month’s worth of press coverage would have played out very differently if Rome had greeted the story, not with circle-the-wagon defensiveness, but with a clear, “bucks stop here” statement from the pope that 1) took responsibility, as the head of the Munich archdiocese at the time, for mistakes made by his subordinates, 2) acknowledged that the Vatican bureaucracy had been too slow, in the past, to reckon with the crisis, and 3) summarized in detail the labor that’s been done during this pontificate to come to grips with the scandals, including the successes of the Vatican-approved American rubrics on sex abuse, the resignation of several Irish bishops and the visitation that’s been ordered to the Irish church, and the work that’s apparently ongoing in Rome to devise universal, worldwide norms for how bishops and dioceses should handle abuse cases.
Again, the Catholic Church will always face particular difficulties in its dealings with the press. But the rules that apply to politicians also apply to popes. Responding swiftly is always better than responding slowly, and direct statements are better than oblique allusions. Attacks on the media tend to spur journalists to greater unfairness, whereas acknowledging legitimate critiques gives you more credibility, not less, when it comes time to rebut slanderous charges. If you think there’s a story the media isn’t covering, then you need to give them the story, in its most convincing and comprehensive form, instead of just complaining that they aren’t telling it. And if you have a statement that deserves maximum visibility, you’re better off having the pope deliver it himself, rather than punting it to a spokesman.
Following these rules might not have made the last month of media coverage fairer or more favorable, whether to Benedict or to the church as a whole. But I’m hard-pressed to see how it could have made things worse.