Monday, April 8, 2013

The Importance of Having Good Sources

Over at Patheos, Dawn Eden has done some good old fashioned investigative reporting.  The traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli has written some criticism of the Holy Father.  Some of it is fair play, some of it is a pretty bad foul, especially in the comboxes, of which I will say more in a bit.  In this criticism, they've relied upon the likes of one Marcelo Gonzalez.  He made the statement that then Cardinal Bergoglio was a "sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass", as well as stating the Cardinal was a demagoguge, known for associating himself with moral reprobates, and silent in opposing abortion and "weakly" opposing homosexual marriage.  Now Rorate, to their credit, walked back some of those criticisms, providing links to their own previous reporting which demonstrated that on the gay marriage front, this guy was talking total nonsense.  Enter Miss Eden's latest.

Through her own little research, she's shown that at best this guy likes to muse about how the Holocaust really wasn't as bad to Jews as everyone says, employing many of the classic tactics of holocaust deniers in the process, referring to it as the "hollowcaust", and alleging some deep jewish conspiracy that "the truth" of the Holocaust never gets out.  According to Miss Eden, the Rorate guys said they intended to post a takedown of her claims.  If this is their takedown, they should probably do themselves a favor and never cite Mr. Gonzalez again.

I think both sides might be focusing on different things though.  In my opinion, the focus of the Rorate Caeli crowd is that in the diocese of Buenos Aires when Bergoglio was in control, things were not very great for the Latin Mass.  That's a pretty established fact, by some of their own original reporting that doesn't include a holocaust denying/minimalizing crackpot.

As I read it, the statement of Miss Eden and others is dealing with the fact that you really shouldn't build your case on the words of people pushing pretty outlandish ideas.  They already had to walk back one of his statements.  One could assume they are distancing themselves from the troublesome viewpoints, by pointing out their position is not his.

Call me crazy, but I think most of this could have been avoided had people simply done a better job vetting their sources.

In the end, I think both can be right and wrong.  The Latin Mass experienced quite a dry spell in Buenos Aires, but one need not place the blame primarily at the feet of Cardinal Bergoglio, even if he is everything Rorate says he is.  The Latin Mass had some hybrid (but perfectly legal) adaptations, was only available once a month, and predictably folded.  Nobody really knows the extent Cardinal Bergoglio was involved, or why he did what he did.  Mr. Gonzalez has already been established as a witness without much credibility for rational discourse.  If there's evidence that he directed a persecution of traditionalists, not only would we have that evidence, but we would have the names and the bodies, and those people would speak their minds.  So far, the evidence flirts around the edges without anything of pure substance.

So even if we are inclined to think that His Eminence (now His Holiness) could have done more, this doesn't make him a "sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass."  That a Bishop didn't do much to promote the Latin Mass under the Indult doesn't make him an enemy.  It makes him at the time doing something that most bishops were doing, for whatever reason, good or ill.  This was still their right and perogative.  There's little evidence he was like those who truly were enemies of traditionalists and all faithful Catholics.

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