CV NEWS FEED // A Catholic analyst of secular coverage of religious news called out news sites for not covering the recent rise in arson attacks and vandalism in Catholic Churches.
Clemente Lisi, a commentator on the website GetReligion, expressed her dissatisfaction with the lack of coverage concerning church fires by major media outlets. Lisi has been writing for GetReligion, a website that focuses on the coverage of religion by the media, since 2018.
Lisi will soon depart from GetReligion and chose to write about church vandalism as his last commentary.
He wrote that “Churches have been targeted in the United States and around the world in what has easily been one of the most underreported (in some cases not reported at all) stories of the last decade. The problem? When it comes to press coverage, not all religious sanctuaries are created equal.”
He began the piece by reminiscing on the most prominent church-fire story, when Notre Dame in Paris caught fire in 2019. While it was an accident, Lisi noted some serious issues with the reporting, especially by the New York Times.
“One of the most glaring mistakes to come out of the Notre Dame fire news coverage was a New York Times blunder regarding the mystery of a small statue of Jesus. It featured prominently in the Times story on Father Jean-Marc Fournier, the Paris Fire Department chaplain who risked his life to save many of Notre Dame prized relics,” observed Lisi.
Lisi wrote that “it should be noted that Notre Dame doesn’t have a Jesus statue—at least not one small enough to be taken out by an elderly priest. The “statue” appeared in no other news accounts, and the Times story was the only one not to mention efforts to preserve the Blessed Sacraments from a side altar.”
Lisi then noted how the January 16th report of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops documenting the vandalization of churches across the United States received no coverage from the mainstream media.
“The report received no mainstream news coverage,” said Lisi. “Words like “religious freedom” must have scared them away.”
Throughout the piece, Lisi included excerpts from various publications showing their lack of reporting on church fires.
To conclude his piece, Lisi encouraged his readers to dedicate time to reading stories about church fires and vandalism incidents.
“Again, church attacks—be it arson or other desecrations—remain an underreported crime story. There are news sources doing great work in this regard. Make those part of your daily news diet since you won’t be reading about any of them in the legacy press,” wrote Lisi. One source, not mentioned by Lisi, is CatholicVote, which has an extensive tracker of recent cases of church vandalism and fires.