April 18, 2008

A Discombobulated Mess: Minnesota Monthly

Gentle Reader:

I was interviewed a few months ago for an article on Archbishop Nienstedt that appears in the May issue of, Minnesota Monthly

I had a feeling during the course of said correspondence that the author already had his slant in mind before he wrote the story. My suspicions are confirmed by the story.

The author only used one actual quote from our ACTUAL correspondence. The rest he took off my blog and made some assumptions and threw snippets together. Apparently, and obviously, what I said during our interview was not what he was after.

I SAVED my email train with him. Below are the questions he asked me in italics and my actual responses to his questions.

Why am I publishing our interview? I don't want anyone thinking that I have anything less than the highest respect for Archbishop's Flynn or Nienstedt.

I want to set this story as straight as I can.

Signed: Catherine of Alexandria (Janice LaDuke), (the modern victim of journalistic hogwash, not the medieval martyr)

Dear Janice,

I'm the senior writer at Minnesota Monthly magazine, and I'm working on a story putting the appointment of incoming Archbishop Nienstedt in perspective. To that end, as a follower of your blog (admittedly a silentone), I've admired your observations and am hoping you'd have a moment to discuss your thoughts on the matter.

Some questions follow, or I can be reached in the office at -------.

1) Is there anything about the Mpls-St. Paul Archdiocese that strikes you as unique or different? What issues tend to surface most often on your blog, among your readers?

A frequent topic of discussion on my blog regarding this Archdiocese are the high numbers of seminarians we have here compared to other Dioceses'. We also have more Adoration Chapels in this Archdiocese then ANY other. Archbishop Flynn, in my opinion and the opinion of many Catholics who live here, is responsible for encouraging vocations, strengthening the seminary, and encouraging Adoration.

2) Many have suggested that Bishop Nienstedt is more "conservative" than Archbishop Flynn--that he's the one who will enforce doctrine in the diocese. Others have said that's a slap to Archbishop Flynn, making it seem like he's somehow not been faithful to church teaching. From what you can gather, what distinctions are believed to exist between Nienstedt and Flynn, and are they more than superficial?

I do not agree with the perception of many that Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt is more faithful to Church teaching then Archbishop Flynn. I think both men are faithful to Church teaching. I think people are mistaking action or lack thereof in a certain way in certain situations with each mans relationship with Christ's Church. I don't think it is appropriate to project a statement on a persons belief, regardless of whether that person is a leader, because they did, or did not act, or react the way you thought they should have-or the way you think you would have if you had been in a similar situation. I believe that the perceptions of Archbishop Nienstedt are based solely on assumptions of what people think he did, or did not do, in the Diocese of New Ulm. I don't think we will know, for sure, what Archbishop Nienstedt's plan, if he even has one, will be until he assumes leadership of this Archdiocese. Even then, we may not know right away. There are many who believe that Archbishop Nienstedt will enforce Church teaching more forcefully then Archbishop Flynn or that he would have handled some situations differently. Possibly. Each man, any man, may not act the same.

3) There are those who believe the archdiocese needs a good housecleaning (and that Nienstedt is the one to do it). But does it really? Is there any reason to believe the archdiocese is somehow notable for being outside the mainstream of modern Catholicism?

There are many who think this Archdiocese needs a good housecleaning. Many of the people that say that don't even live here. This Archdiocese is known worldwide for several parishes that have strayed pretty far from the Catholic faith. I say worldwide because, thanks to the Web and the fact that many of the parishes in question have websites, anyone can read some of their more outrageous, and some say, heretical statements.

Thanks very much, in advance, for your thoughts on any or all of these questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tim (Gihring)


Blogger Ray from MN said...

Thanks for posting that, Cathy.

The press needs to be monitored.

Be sure to read my analytical post on Page 1 of 3 of the Minnesota Monthly article:


I'll post an analysis of pages 2 and 3 later today.

April 18, 2008 6:13 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

He contacted me two or three times, but I never took the bait... I never responded. I learned my lesson on interviews last year.

April 18, 2008 8:54 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

He probably didn't know how opinionated I am. He might think differently now.

April 18, 2008 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Gee, I didn't study journalism because I was pretty sure that I was unable to show both sides fairly and equally (not let my passion color or influence my writing unfairly.) This article makes me think that I probably could have been quite successful.

What you wrote in response to his questions were thoughtful, fair, and very "unsnarky." Of course for what he was looking for, you could just as well have been outright nasty. Somthing 'holier than thou' along the lines of,
"By choosing to fall out of communion with the Church, the members of those dissident parishes are leaving more room in Heaven for the rest of us."
Which, by the way, I totally don't mean AT ALL...but was probably the kind of response that the author of the MN Monthly was hoping for.

You did good.


April 18, 2008 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Georgette said...

Oh I hate when journalists take quotes out of context to FIT into their preconceived story!!! Can't tell you how many times it's happened to us! Such "journalists" should be ashamed -- but they have no integrity and no conscience, so they do not even know what "shame" means.

Glad you set the record straight here, Hon!

April 19, 2008 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cathy,

Librarian to Librarian: it was smart of you to keep an e-mail trail.


April 19, 2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Thanks, everyone.

Katie: Well, I did not label it by subject! LOL!

Terry: Reason #1001 why you are wiser than I am. I'm too vain and quick to jump at these opportunities to get my name in print. I'm going to be more careful and discerning from now on.

April 19, 2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Had the something simmilar happen to me. VERY smart to keep the email.

April 19, 2008 2:09 PM  
Anonymous shrinkingviolets said...

I don't see the fuss. Your comments in the interview and blog characterize you as pro-archbishop and strong-willed--you're characterized in the story as the same, as a counterpoint to those who are not. That's the bottom line. The idea of fear of misrepresentation (in this case, unjustified) compelling one not to speak to qualified journalists is counterproductive at best: it forces writers to then find someone else to represent your views--and who would you rather have representing your views?--or to not adequately represent them at all, if others similarly refuse to step up.

April 20, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

shrinkingviolets: Thank you.

April 20, 2008 5:29 PM  

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