Boston Globe Draws Battle Lines Over Blurry Terrain

Sarah Price Brown observes: When Michael Paulson wrote in The Boston Globe a few days ago about a Vatican investigation into homosexuality in seminaries, he framed the issue plainly. The effort, he claimed “is alarming gay rights advocates but is pleasing conservatives.” In other words, he pitted one group against the other.

But Paulson’s own report inadvertently reveals that the issue is not as simple as a battle between two camps. The first quote criticizing the Vatican’s review comes not from a gay-rights activist, but from Rev. Kenneth Himes, chairman of Boston College’s theology department. Another who condemns the investigation is Daniel C. Maguire, a professor at Marquette, which Paulson neglects to mention is a Catholic university.

So, the issue seems more nuanced. Some Catholics support the Vatican review, while others who’d hardly qualify as “gay rights advocates,” denounce it.

It is simpler to tackle a complex issue by creating a black-and-white opposition, but in real life, boundaries blur, and so should they also in religion reporting.It is worth noting, too, that Paulson fails to raise the voice of a self-identified gay rights advocate until the end of the piece. Even in his combative construct, he neglects one side of the battle.

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