Nancy at Flying Stars has been doing an excellent series of post’s concerning Catholic journalism and specifically responds to an article by Tom Sheridan. Her latest brings up this interesting point.
As Dr. Thursday again points out, Saint Thomas Aquinas in his brilliant book Summa Theologica has a ton of errors in it. There is a tremendous amount of space in that book with errors and dissent all over the place. But St. Thomas is taking each error in it’s turn, and then explaining why that particular position doesn’t work. That is what a Responsible Catholic Journalist should do. Now if St. Thomas had presented the dissent and then the Catholic view, giving equal weight, or perhaps even more weight to the Catholic view, and then stepped back and said, "There you are. You decide." would that be helpful? The church has always been brave enough and bold enough to say, "We’re going to give you the Truth, and the Truth is…..X" Maybe the Catholic newpapers of today aren’t that brave. They think people are grown up enough to decide for themselves. People can decide things for themselves when they know what’s right. But if they don’t know what’s right, how then can anyone decide? What feels good? What seems good? People today are longing for the Truth and no one is willing to give it to them. That’s why people are drawn to the Catholic Church, if they seek answers, because the Church is basically the only place in the world brave enough to say what Truth is.
The Summa Thelogica does seem to me to be a good model for Catholic journalism in some areas. St. Thomas Aquinas would write opposing views on a subject that fully reflected the argument used to the best of his ability (which was normally better than those proposing the arguments) and then Sed Contra would answer them. Too much of what goes for Catholic journalism is missing the Sed Contra part. We need to see opposing views clearly stated and then why they are wrong.