Monday, 7 March 2011

Cath News strikes again: Why does Michael Mullins continue to get me wrong?

Over at the Cath News blog Michael Mullins has also commented on the priests debate, and yet again misrepresented my position (it is becoming a weekly event). 

And this time in a very serious way indeed.

He reports on A Priest Downunder's suggestion that Paul Collins' objection to overseas priests is racist, then suggests that I actually agree with Collins' and go even further than him on this subject.


The quotes he attributes to me was actually from Paul Collins, as my post made perfectly clear by saying so, using quote marks, and putting the text in a different background colour.

Here is what I actually said (I've bolded the fairly crucial bits Mullins omits in his lift from my piece):

"Overseas priests

The report makes a considerable play on the use of overseas priests, correctly I think making the point that there is something of a mismatch between the missionary orientation of many of these foreign priests and bishops who find this challenging. Now of course, that is the very reason why traditionalists and conservatives want to see more of these priests!

Unsurprisingly, however, Paul Collins (and no doubt many other liberals and bishops) in a commentary on the report in Eureka Street, sees this as problematic, for exactly the same reasons but the opposite perspective:

"Another difficulty that Wilkinson doesn't canvass is that many of these foreign priests are inexperienced and come from cultures that are tribal and patriarchical. They have little or no comprehension of the kinds of faith challenges that face Catholics living in a secular, individualistic, consumerist culture that places a strong emphasis on equality, women's rights, and co-responsibility for parish ministry and mission."

Mullins' misrepresentation

It is crystal clear that I was quoting Collins/Wilkinson, and it is equally clear that Mr Mullins chose not to include to include my own commentary on it, instead using dots...

Not only that, he actually goes on to portray me as having exactly the opposite position to the one I actually hold, claiming that:

"Incognita is at one with the report, and media commentary from Paul Collins, on the problematic nature of the use of foreign priests to boost the number available for priestly ministry in Australia."

As I've made clear above, this absolutely not the case!  I am, as Mr Mullins is surely well aware, aligning myself with those traddies and conservatives on this issue.

For the record

I've asked Cath News to fix the article.

So far they have refused to do so, only removing one of the two paragraphs that actually reflects views written by Paul Collins/Wilkinson, claiming that my piece was somehow unclear and open to misinterpretation.

So I'm putting this clarification up here since no doubt many will already have read the piece and been misled about my views.
Oh and by the way Mr Mullins, I am Kate Edwards, not 'Incognita'.

It keeps happening...

Every time my blog is mentioned on Cath News, it seems to me to be in a highly distorted fashion, is factually incorrect, or otherwise presented in a derogatory way.

Let me give some examples.

1. He gets my name or identity wrong every time he mentions me - sometimes I'm ‘Incognita’ instead of Kate, once ‘The Curt Jester’ (another blogger entirely), Terram rather than Terra, male rather than female.  There are these things called signature block on posts, and my profile box is in the right hand column.

2. The coverage of virtually all of my pieces has been badly distorted.  A couple of examples:

a) Last week’s blog watch column was given the headline “Priests need protection from hostile secularism” apparently on the basis of a commentary I wrote about a recently released book on priests. The summary given to my piece is that “The conclusion is that aggressive non-believers ought to be regarded more pointedly as the enemy.” In fact I said nothing to support either the headline or the conclusion, merely pointing to the idea that our culture in general is antipathetic to Christianity and priests seem to have absorbed some secularist views (priests don't need to be protected from anything except perhaps by exposure to sound doctrine in my view, rather they are supposed to be teaching the rest of us!).

b) His blog watch of 20 December claimed that I was criticising the financial contribution of the Adelaide Archdiocese to the video of young people saying Happy Christmas in assorted languages. I was not. In fact I was criticising its selling line as 'celebrating our diversity', rather than celebrating the Incarnation: the content not the fact of the video. It also claimed that I was a wowser when it came to the idea of Santa Claus on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

And I could go on.

So, misattribution of quotes, selective use of quotes, verballing, outright errors.  

Funnily enough, I do still want today's blog post on Cath News corrected.  An apology rendered.  And something done to ensure it won't happen again.

Cath News just keeps on keeping on...


Anthony S. Layne said...

So, okay, he's an idiot ... but look on the bright side: he takes you seriously enough to misquote you, rather than ignoring you entirely. Hopefully he drives enough people over here to find out what you really said!

Kate said...

Thanks Anthony.

You are probably right.

But while I'm happy to have a robust exchange of views, I'd like them to be on my actual views, not the complete opposite of them!