Media boosterism of women priests is nothing new. PBS totally one-sided coverage on this issue is just the latest broadside.
This bit is also pretty muddle headed.
REV. THOMAS RAUSCH (Professor of Catholic Theology, Loyola Marymount University): The Catholic Church is not ready for the ordination of women right now.
… As far as the church is concerned, these are not valid ordinations. Ordination is an act of the whole church, and this is not an act of the whole church. In a sense, this is an act against the communion of the whole church. It is very difficult to call yourself a Roman Catholic if you are not living in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and communion means you are recognized by the bishop and you have this network of relationships, which is…It’s the kind of glue that holds the Catholic Church together.
… I think that, you know, the culture was patriarchal. It was very much male-centered. Males were educated. They took roles of leadership. They played leading roles in the churches. So I think those cultural reasons really have to be taken into account in order to understand the exclusion of women from ordained ministry in the life of the church.
Why am I not surprised to find that this priest has also been a favorite on the History Channel.
It does remind me of a parody I did back in 2007 of this fawning coverage of women’s ordination and maybe I also feel I have a call to be a PBS reporter.
I have quite an announcement to make. I am now a reporter for Newsweek magazine! I always felt a call to be a reporter for Newsweek magazine so this is something very important for me. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at this news and the impact this has on my life and hopefully the lives of others.
The hierarchy of Newsweek magazine though doesn’t recognize my call to be a reporter for them. So I had to have reporter credentials given me by an Ecumenical magazine group that also see themselves nevertheless as Newsweek employees and don’t recognize the authority of Newsweek’s editors to make hiring decisions.
So for my first article as a Newsweek employee I am going to interview myself, this way nobody can charge me with making up interviews as in the case of ABC’s Alexis Debat.
NEWSWEEK: What made you decide to become a Newsweek reporter?
Jeff Miller: It was a long process that started at a very young age. I grew up reading bad religion reporting and was always attracted to Newsweek’s egregious reporting and I was affirmed by others that I had gifts for bad reporting.
Have you heard from the Newsweek hierarchy?
The reporting community I belong to hasn’t felt anything from the editors, but local stringers have informed others not to read my reporting since I wasn’t a “validly credentialed” reporters for Newsweek.
How has your family handled your decision? Are they still Newsweek readers?
They are. They are actually incredibly supportive. My immediate family came for my giving a Newsweek credentials. My grandmother bought me an old typewriter.
How many people read your Newsweek articles?
We have 80 registered members. And we have a number of people who come who are subscribe to Newsweek but who come to read with us as a place to refresh their souls—a lot of them are ex-Newsweek readers who are uncomfortable with Newsweek’s discriminatory hiring practices.
Do you know the other Ecumenically credentialed Newsweek reporters?
In the Ecumenical Newsweek Communion there are six other reporters. I know all of them. In the Ecumenical Reporters Communion we no longer claim that we’re underneath the authority of the editors. [There’s also a group called the Roman Newsweek Reporters, which also credentials some reporters.] During the last several years there have been organized giving of Newsweek reporter credentials primarily on river boats.
Have you received any hate mail?
I personally have not received hate mail, although there are plenty of blogs that I have found online that like to slander my name when they get hold of information about my credentials. It’s unfortunate and sad. The people I serve are excited to see a place where men and women can read my articles side by side. Just because I wasn’t actually hired by Newsweek and I receive no salary from them or actually turn my stories over to them to be published doesn’t prevent me from being a validly credentialed Newsweek reporters. Defenders of Newsweek’s reporter tradition says that since founders of Newsweek (Ward Cheney, John Hay Whitney, and Paul Mellon) didn’t allow people to call themselves Newsweek reporters without actually being hired by them that this can’t be changed. There has been recent archaeological evidence in Newsweek headquarters of a statue of a reporter who does not seem to have ever been on their pay role. I think this is evidence of self-named Newsweek reporters in the early history of the magazine. If only people would get with the modern time and to understand how discriminatory Newsweek’s present hiring practices are by not hiring everybody that would apply.
Is there anything else you wish people knew?
It’s important to me that people see that I did what the others do to prepare to be a reporter. I took that traditional path. I got a certificate from an online journalism school for a reasonable fee. I forced myself to cover local news of minor happenings to prepare myself. I just wish more reporters who find themselves alienated from the magazine could find a magazine home. I am taking this step forward so that others in the future will have the opportunity to be a Newsweek reporter without having to face their discriminatory hiring practice of only hiring those with a journalism degree and having the ability to write and to act as a reporter.