TORONTO, April 26, 2005 The Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) today denounced Toronto‘s giveaway news magazine Eye Weekly for anti-Catholic defamation in its April 21 edition.
Since the death of Pope John Paul II and the recent election of Pope Benedict XVI, Canadian media coverage has been extensive, and for the most part balanced, says Phil Horgan, president of CCRL. The legacy of Pope John Paul II was treated with the dignity it deserved. Though there was no shortage of reporting of complaints from dissidents, there was also favourable commentary from groups including CCRL.
With the election of Pope Benedict XVI, there have been frequent references to the new Pope’s purported status as a “hardliner”, typically used in a pejorative sense, and some misleading half-truths about his youth in Nazi Germany, says Mr. Horgan.
We should expect press coverage to be inquisitive. We dont expect to like everything we see in the media. We can only continue to urge that proper balance and responsibility be exercised in the coverage of our new Pope. Smear tactics are unworthy of professional journalists.
However, certain extreme examples of journalistic excess should not be distributed without reaction, and the Moondoggie column in Torontos Eye Weekly April 21 is one such piece.
Among other things, the columnist said World Youth Day had brought an explosion of business in the form of visiting Catholic clergy to Toronto‘s bath houses. The column also used extremely vulgar language to describe Pope John Paul II in the wake of his death.
“It’s easy to dismiss this obscene drivel as the work of a throw-away newspaper that few will take seriously. However, it is published by Eye Communications, a division of Torstar’s Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing, and we think people who buy that company’s mainstream products, whether as consumers or advertisers, should be aware of what the company supports in this corner of its corporate spectrum.”
Torstar Corporation is a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its businesses include newspapers led by the Toronto Star, Canada‘s largest daily newspaper; CityMedia Group, publishers of daily and community newspapers in Southwestern Ontario; Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing, publishers of more than 60 community newspapers in Southern Ontario; and Harlequin Enterprises, a leading global publisher of romantic fiction.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director,