Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 8 April 2016

"A Problem With the Truth"

While futzing around with tea and coffee and the morning news and getting ready for Mass this a.m., Himself asked if I had head the name, X, a "journalist,"  for a "major" "news" organization, (Oh dear! I'm going to run out of scare quotes!) forced to return a Pulitzer because she had fabricated her entire winning story.
He brought it up because he had just come across the Gabriel García Márquez bon mot, "it was unfair that she won the Pulitzer prize, but also unfair that she didn't win the Nobel Prize in Literature."
I refreshed his memory that it was only yesterday that we were discussing a Times piece about the growing problem of the dubious veracity of "documentary" movies which ought better to have been released with the "Inspired by true events" tagline.
There is a whole new style of documentary, challenged, no doubt but how compelling Ken Burns' (honest, excellent,) work is, to sex up their under-researched offerings with "re-enactments" of events that are imagined rather than attested to; completely bogus "facts" are presented, and the film-makers absolve themselves from their lies by saying, "not everyone agrees" and devoting a tenth of the time spent on the fiction to some sober, boring truth. (The Hitler History Channel, NGC, Discovery provide an outlet for much of this stuff.)
Then as we tangentalized the conversation into the recent spate of Advocacy Fiction Masquerading as Journalism, (e.g., Sabrina Eredely's campus rape hoax, the New York Times with the Duke lacrosse story, or its ugly and insensitive "embarrassment to Ireland" exploitation of the death of students at the hands of a criminally crooked construction company); deliberately spun yarns, (Blair, Glass,) reporters and editors too lazy or harried or eager, to fact check when scams are fed to them as news by PR hacks or comedians, (wolves in the Olympic hotel?); outright shills.... he realized that he hadn't noticed the sheer volume, how very ordinary, almost expected dishonesty has become in institutions in which one once had some trust.

Fr Ra Blake has a blog on Amoris Laetitia, but I'm going to leave that for now. I haven't really digested the, (yes, Father, very long,) document, or his opinion on it.
This is what I want to be read, I want people to notice -
I think the crisis in the Church is one of integrity. Benedict interpreted it as a crisis of the disintegration of the liturgy, following the idea that we believe what we say and do in the liturgy, lex credendi lex orandi. It stems of course from the 2nd Commandment,  that if we keep Holy the name of God, nothing we do in the name of God should be trivial or false, that our "yes means yes and no means no". The ending of our  prayers, "Through Our Lord Jesus Christ ..." turns them into a sacred oath. Lies and obfuscation have no place in the Christian life. There must be something very different in way Christians speak, most especially bishops and priests, Christ after all spoke with authority, unlike the religious and political leaders of his day. His words were witnessed to by God himself, the Father and the Spirit witness to Him as the Truth. It is as the Truth that Pilate is incapable of recognising Him, and therefore as the Truth that He is condemned and crucified. Those who are on the side of Truth listen to His voice, because He is the Word of God, the Son of the Father, full of Grace and Truth.
The child abuse crisis and consequent episcopal cover-ups revealed the Church or rather
["SOME of", please, Father!] its leaders as being without integrity, as being far from the truth, in fact many were shown to be downright liars. If we are to witness to the truth of Christ we need to be men and women of total integrity, the knotty wood of the Cross is the great sign of integrity, it is through our trustworthiness as witnesses to the resurrection that others are called to believe, if the Church cannot be trusted we cannot be faithful witnesses.
Perhaps it is not just in the Church but in society in general that there is a problem with the truth, manipulation by politicians, journalists, spin-doctors, political correctness, language manipulation all in one way or another create an environment of mistrust in which communion/communication between human beings breaks down. Its the tower of Babel situation there are so many voices crying out but no-one can hear what is being said. The Church is supposed to be different, making out of many nations one people, with one certain truth, down the centuries the Church has sought truth, the One Truth, now it seems to me that the Church is following the world, that bishops are emulating politicians, that we are not so much concerned with truth as its application or spin, that we no longer see truth as person but a commodity.

No comments: