Every Easter and Christmas at least one of America’s three newsweeklies—Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report—includes articles trashing Christian dogmas.  For Easter 2010, Newsweek featured a piece by religion editor Lisa Miller blurbing her new book, Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife.

Concerning the resurrection of men, she wrote, “It’s a supernatural event.  It’s a special act of grace or of kindness on God’s part.”  After she tried to explain it as a kind of materialist abracadabra, a rabbi told her, “The belief in resurrection is more radical.  It’s a supernatural event.”  To which Miller responded with pop-cult clichés: “For my part, I don’t buy it.  I do, however, leave the door open a crack for radical acts of grace and kindness—and for humbling ourselves before all that we don’t understand.”

That’s an echo of the 1980’s dorm poster, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”  I have always wondered: How can kindness and beauty be random and senseless?

At the height of their popularity and influence in the 1960’s and 70’s, the newsweeklies tried to jam seven days’ worth of events into a convenient format for Mr. & Mrs. Joe America.  The magazines provided news, Hollywood gossip, and a little analysis folks might have missed because they didn’t have the time to read the daily newspaper.  Time, the most popular, was the centerpiece of Henry Luce’s publishing empire, offering guidance to the middle class of his “American Century” in prose as processed as Velveeta cheese.

Newsweek in the 1950’s boasted commie-busting conservative Ralph de Toledano, later a fixture at National Review.  Bought by the Washington Post Company in 1961, the magazine reportedly was being set up by CEO Phil Graham as a perch for President Kennedy after he left the White House.  When Kennedy was killed, the magazine merged into the general Washington news smog.  In May 2010 it was offered for sale, meaning it soon would be dead, without hope of resurrection.

The best of them once was U.S. News & World Report, edited by fabled journalist David Lawrence from the time he founded it in 1933 until his death in 1973.  My father had a subscription, so I grew up reading it and absorbed its amiable conservatism and open patriotism.  Owned by its employees, it carried on the Lawrence legacy until inevitable factionalism led to its sale in 1984.  The new owner was Mortimer Zuckerman, the Canadian real-estate magnate and one-time paramour of Gloria Steinem.

Zuckerman, unbound by Lawrence’s common-sense moorings, made the magazine a platform for his brand of leftist neoconservatism.  He hired neocon scion John Podhoretz, currently the inheriting editor of the Podhoretz family’s Commentary franchise, to type dull cultural pieces.  Sometime around then, my father let his subscription lapse.  So did other subscribers.

In January 2009, U.S. News went biweekly.  In June 2009, it went monthly.  As with the other news mags, it maintains an internet presence.  But on the net, no matter what you are, you’re equal to millions of bloggers wired on Starbucks poking on their iPhones at two in the morning.  It’s just not the same as raising doubts about the Virgin Birth in Mrs. America’s soul as she spots the cover of your anti-Christmas issue on her way through the Safeway checkout.  And nowadays those printed issues look so anorexic.

It does seem strange that, in their final days, as their ad space drops toward zero, the newsweeklies would attack the beliefs of the religion still held by most of their subscribers.  Perhaps they suffer from Doc Holliday Syndrome.  Doc, after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, went on a killing spree, taking as many others with him as he could on his horse ride to Hell.

On what to report, the newsweeklies have always followed the lead of the two main liberal newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times.  In spring 2010, the Times began a jihad against Pope Benedict XVI, which the news mags have joined.

In the Easter issue of Newsweek, the Rt. Rev. Ms. Miller, D.D., S.T.D., unburdened herself in an article entitled, “The Bad Shepherd: Why Pope Benedict XVI may not be able to heal his church.”  Miller’s writing was replete with misunderstandings of the Pope and the Vatican.

But her densest moment came when she discussed a 2001 document by the Pope when he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—which she insultingly called by its previous name, the Holy Office.  She wrote, “The document put sexual offenses by clergy—specifically sex with ‘a minor below the age of 18 years’—on a par with the sacrilege of tossing communion wafers in the trash.”

But in Catholic belief, they’re not “communion wafers” after consecration, but the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  In other words, the document placed molesting children on par with mistreating the actual, physical God.  Even secular reporters, back in the days of literacy, could understand that.

Rivaling Miller’s screed was the cover story in the June 7 issue of Time, “Why Being Pope Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry: The sex abuse scandal and the limits of atonement,” by Jeff Israely and Howard Chua-Eoan.  The first part of the long, silly title was adapted from the catchphrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” of the 1970 novel and movie Love Story.  About which John Lennon—no doubt having Yoko in mind—quipped, “Love means having to say you’re sorry every 15 minutes.”

Certainly, the scandal of the abuse of children—80 to 90 percent of them, according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, postpubescent boys molested by homosexual priests—is serious.  The issue was aired out in 2002 after a series of stories on the scandal were run in the Boston Globe, which is owned by the New York Times.  But where were the Times, the Globe, and the other papers and newsweeklies when the Wanderer, a conservative Catholic newspaper, began reporting on these scandals in the early 1980’s?  The Globe got a Pulitzer Prize for its series.  Why didn’t the Wanderer get several Pulitzers?

In these attacks on the pope, I always look for the inevitable phrase that runs like the one used in the Time article: “For some [Church] liberals, the crisis over sex abuse is a chance to argue old questions of dogma and discipline once again: for example, to address the necessity of celibacy in the priesthood and the church’s vision of sex, to expand the role of women and to define the status of Catholic homosexuals.” 

That’s what the article is really about, and what all of them are about.  Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times are using the bishops’ failures to uphold Catholic sexual ethics to insist that the ethics be changed.

Just a month earlier, in its May 3 number, a Time cover story celebrated “The 50th Anniversary of The Pill.  So small.  So powerful.  And so misunderstood.”  To make sure Mr. & Mrs. America got the message, in his To Our Readers column, Managing Editor Richard Stengel called it “the miracle tablet.”  The battle lines are clear: the Eucharist versus “the miracle tablet.”

In all these articles, no mention is made of how the Pill has decimated populations, contributing to the demographic, economic, and political decline of the West.  It’s not a “miracle tablet” but a social suicide pill.

It’s also telling that Time is part of the vast Time Warner, Inc. conglomerate.  Time Warner Cable spews hard-core pornography into the homes of millions of Americans.  Early in the morning on March 16, 2010, its hard-core porn preempted the Kids on Demand channel in homes in North Carolina.  A company spokesman blamed “a technical malfunction.”

You can bet your foreclosed farm that Time won’t soon be doing a cover on “Being Time Warner Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry: The porn-for-kids scandal and the limits of technical malfunctions.”