Thursday, December 11, 2003

St. Louis Post-Dispatch "distorts facts"...

In a 'Letter to the Editor' in yesterday's paper, Dr. Arthur Hippler,Director, Office of Justice and Peace, Diocese of La Crosse, takes to task the Post-Dispatch for misrepresenting his remarks and his biographical information. It must be one of the benefits if you're the only newspaper in town.

Dr. Hippler writes:
While I am grateful to the Post-Dispatch for its coverage of the transfer of Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke to St. Louis, I must take exception to some of the remarks attributed to me and about me in the Dec. 7 article, "Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke faces the heat."

I told the reporter that the bishop believes that the respect for human life from conception until natural death must be fundamental to the social work of the church, because the right to life is the basis of all other rights. It is neither accurate nor fair to translate my remark into Bishop Burke putting "ideological issues" before "charitable efforts."

The reporter's choice of my biographical information ("37" and "Alaskan") seems to imply that the bishop hires staff based on age and geographical origin. Why not inform the reader that I am a black American and part of an ethnically diverse staff? (But then he would not have been able to describe me as "brash" - "brash black American," no doubt, has a distasteful sound to it.) More important, why not inform the reader that I have a doctorate in philosophy from a Jesuit university and have taught Catholic social teaching for some years, which qualifies me for my present position?

Finally, he states Bishop Burke's decision to withdraw from the CROP Walk without relating its larger significance. Since he joined the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., in directing Catholics not to participate in the CROP Walk, the national office of Catholic Relief Services has officially withdrawn as a benefiting agency, and several Catholic dioceses have either withdrawn support from the CROP Walk or are considering doing so. The bishop's decision has been roundly vindicated.
Dr. Hippler should be commended for his courageous stand to expose the distortions the people of St. Louis are expected to buy from the Post-Dispatch.

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