Intellectual FairnessnThe Atlantic Monthly is a liberalnjournal of opinion with a simple methodnof dealing with opinion as a factor ofndemocratic reality. According to thisnmethod, only liberal opinions are valid,nworthy of publication in the form of annarticle, essay or treatise. Any other opinionnmust make do with an abbreviatednletter to the editor (if it is accepted fornprinting, which is not always the case,nsince the editor is protected by the FirstnAmendment and is fully entitled to voicenhis disagreement with another’s disagreementnby throwing the letter intonthe wastebasket).nThis brings us to Atlantic’s opinionnof Pope John Paul II. It was written by an”journalist living in London,” whichnimmediately raises the question why anjournalist would elaborate on a subjectnas complex as the papacy in a journalnthat only pretends to a premier intellectualnstanding. The riddle is easily solved:nhe is a liberal journalist and, as such, henimparts his sophisticated opinion that anpope is “good” only if he admits to liberalnpostulates for faith in general and fornthe Catholic church in particular.nUnfortunately, John Paul II is notna “good” pope: “He has banned one ofnWestern Europe’s most prominent liberalntheologians, Hans Kiing …” HisnCatholicism is “doctrinaire . . . suitednto the garrison church of his nativenPoland,” and the Polish church is untouchedn”by the fresh breezes of reform”nand “clings fervently to traditionnin both theology and pastoral practices.”nHowever, “there is still room for optimismnabout [the] man . . .”if only JohnnPaul II will support the achievementsnof the Dutch Catholic church (optionalncelibacy of priests, approval of homosexualnmarriages, etc.) and ordinationnof women, he will turn into a “good”npope. As “liberal” is a priori good, onlyna liberal “solution” promotes optimism,nand other points of view need not applynfor consideration. The possibility thatnJohn Paul II may have some subtle, profoundnand very learned objections to allnthose liberal goodies does not cross thenmind of the “journalist from London,”nwho, of course, applauds the Dutchnchurch.nWhat’s even more depressing thannAtlantic’s so-called intellectual fairnessnis the fact that the Chicago Tribune, annallegedly nonideological organ servingna large audience of Polish-Italian-Irish-nAmerican Catholics, rushed to reprintnAtlantic’s elucubrations. As if therenwere a dearth of Catholic theologiansnat Chicago universities who could commentnon the subject. As if the New OxfordnReview, one of the most scholarlynjournals of Christian opinion in America,nwere unable to provide enough commentarynto be reprinted in the ChicagonTribune, thus reaching a larger readership.nHowever, the Chicago professorsnand New Oxford Review scholars mightnsupport John Paul II and his quest tonrevitalize and refurbish Catholicnthought, philosophy and theology, tonrestore Catholicism’s ancient glory innkeeping with its endemic spirit. ThenTrib runs no risk of such a transgressionnwith The Atlantic Monthly and itsn”experts” on what is good, noble, propernand—of course—Catholic.nThere’s only a small step from thenChicago Tribune’s unfairness to thenindecency of a Sunday supplement. Parade,nwhich is distributed by the Gannettnchain. It thrives on answering questionsnas to who sleeps with whom,nwhere, why and how, among the socalledncelebrities. This fount of wisdomnrecently ran a minicolumn entitled “Assessingnthe Pope.” The assessors werenParade ‘s most trusted “theologians”—none a “former Jesuit, now married,”nwhose work Parade terms “brilliant.”nTheir verdict:n[John Paul II is] not particularly interestednin modern ideas and problems—suchnas women priests, marriagenfor priests, and birth controln… an impatient, energetic conservativendetermined to reinforce traditionalndogma and hoping somehow tonstay the tide of Soviet Marxism byninfecting it with the virtues and valuesnof the Catholic Church. (Emphasisnadded)nInfecting with virtues.’ What a sinisternscheme… DnResponsible, Reliable, Unbiased, Trustworthy, HonestnIhe above are adjectives withnwhich the American journalist eloquentlynendows the towers of pressnpower in this republic. The AssociatednPress, for example.nHere is how the AP implements thosencharacteristics in a widely reprintednstory on Ronald Reagan’s plans for thenCIA and the FBI if he is elected:nThe proposed FBI charter removesnrestrictions imposed after a Senatencommittee turned up abuses of civilnliberties by the CIA and FBI. ‘Thenworst abuse by these agencies has notnbeen in civil liberties but in incompetencenand bad intelligence,’ said anSenate staff aide, who helped draftnthe charter but asked not to be namedn…. But a top CIA official, whonnnasked anonymity, said, ‘This givesnus powers we’ve never asked for andndon’t want.’ And a Justice Departmentnofficial who also did not wantnto be named, said, ‘This would weakennthe intelligence community byncasting its practices into furthernlegal doubt.’nThe emphasis added is ours. We maintainnopenly that the AP is exercisingnits professional power in a most unsavorynway: irresponsibly, unreliably,nwith bias, untrustworthily and dishonestly.nThey are supporting and disseminatingnallegations by people who arentoo cowardly to use their own names,nand who, therefore, may or may not evennexist. Our names are on the masthead.nDnSeptember/October 1980n