Boston Pilot Front Page Problems

September 4, 2011

A few eyebrows were raised at BCI upon seeing the front page of the current issue of The Pilot.  We will cover the issues in two parts. The first concerns the article, “Labor secretary says parents’ example of faith, hard work shaped her,” which highlighted the “Catholic faith” that motivates Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, but failed to mention she is pro-abortion.

As most BCI readers know, BCI primarily focuses on governance issues and typically stays out of ideological issues because there are many other blogs that make those their focus. But sometimes we find that something rather obvious hits us in the face, and after prayerful consideration we may decide to cover the factual information about the situation.  Today is one of those.

The article (or better put, a “puff piece”), “Labor secretary says parents’ example of faith, hard work shaped her“, comes from Catholic News Service (CNS), a financially and editorially independent division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here is how CatholicCulture critiqued the piece:

In an article that is appearing in diocesan newspapers across the United States, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is presented as a model Catholic politician. The article begins:

The office of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis includes images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a glass crucifix and a sculpture of Mary and Jesus. Her Catholic faith, she said, “is a part of my life. My faith is what motivates me.”

The lessons her faith teaches about hope, about helping others, about seeking higher things is something woven into the fabric of her daily life, she said. “I do it in a quiet way,” she said.

The laudatory profile by Catholic News Service, an independent division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, fails to mention Solis’s record on the sanctity of life: she has earned a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America for her uncompromising support of legalized abortion.

Catholic World Report opined:

“…this glowing account of a Catholic public servant fails to mention a couple facts about her time in office, including her 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America (and a corresponding 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee).

A few seconds spent with a Google search on “Hilda solis abortion” get these results:


Click the first link to OnTheIssues.org and you will see that this is not necessarily someone who should be held up on a pedestal as the role model of a Catholic politician in public life:

* Voted “yes” on allowing and expanding embryonic stem cell research
* Voted “no”on the federal partial-birth abortion ban
* Voted “no” on restricting interstate transportation of minors for abortions
* Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime
* Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life
* Recommended by EMILY’s List of pro-choice women
* Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record
* Rated 0% by the National Right to Life Committee, indicating a pro-choice stance

In addition, Solis, along with 47 other Catholic members of Congress, sent a letter in 2006 to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington D.C. in order to dissuade him from refusing them the sacraments because of their pro-choice legislative voting. Solis signed a “Statement of Principles,” released to the public on February 28, 2006, which affirmed Catholic Democrats’ commitment to their faith as well as disagreement with the Roman Catholic Church on some issues. They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they decided to follow their conscience instead of the Church teachings.

No mention of the above facts is found in the Catholic News Service profile of Solis, republished by The Pilot.

Catholic World Report concluded, “What a pity that of the many faithful Catholic public servants working tirelessly to promote authentic human flourishing in our country, CNS decided to highlight one who has demonstrated such a lack of concern for the most vulnerable among us, especially as we head into the Labor Day weekend.”

BCI feels criticism lies with CNS, but it also lies with the editors of The Pilot for running the CNS piece. Although the article was not written by The Pilot, someone at The Pilot decided to run it, and to run it on the front page of the paper where it gets the most prominent attention. How does The Pilot vet CNS articles and decide whether or not to run them?  How do editors at The Pilot and other diocesan newspapers send a clear message to CNS that this sort of “Catholic journalism” is misleading to faithful Catholics?

BCI will write to both The Pilot and CNS to ask for their response to these concerns, but you can and should as well. Write to Tony Spence, director and editor-in-chief at CNS at: tspence(at)catholicnews.com and Antonio Enrique, editor of The Pilot at editorial(at)thebostonpilot.com.

Note: this post is about the matter of the publishing of this article, and this post is not about whether bishops should refuse Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians. Please do not go in the latter direction in your comments.


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