Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Media Love the Catholic Church

Well, not so much these days. So when a note of respect ekes out of print or the airwaves, it merits a shout-out.

Chris Stigall is the top morning, drive-time talker in Kansas City and an occasional sit-in for Michael Savage’s national show. He’s not Catholic – He describes himself as a gray, wavering Methodist. Though he is unflinchingly and courageously pro-life, many of his political stands are not shared with Catholic Social Teaching. He has always given, however, great respect to the Catholic Church for being willing to take lonely stands and for leading “with a clarity, conscience, conviction, and commitment to their beliefs that no politician, press, or public protest will shake.”

That last accolade is from a column Stigall wrote today in The Platte County Landmark. He also read the column on his show this morning on KCMO 710. What is fascinating to me is the example of leadership in the Catholic Church that got him to take notice of Her, excerpts:

The first time I truly sat up and took notice was a couple of years ago when Union Station hosted the traveling exhibit, “Bodies Revealed.”

If you missed the debate, allow me to summarize. Dead Chinese people, skinless, plasticized and posed in various states of activity are hauled around from city to city. About the time “Bodies” came to Kansas City, ABC's Brian Ross conducted an investigation into the company who “owns” the bodies and built a very chilling case. Those human beings on display were very likely Chinese prisoners, executed and then sold.

I was quick to personally denounce the exhibit on my show. . .The audience didn't widely seem to agree with me. Then I stumbled across a couple of Catholic Bishops' statement on the issue:

“…We regard the "Bodies" exhibit as an unfortunate exploitation of that which is "real" to teach something that could be accomplished by use of models. As such it represents a kind of "human taxidermy" that degrades the actual people who, through their bodies, once lived, loved, prayed, and died. For these reasons, we do not believe that this exhibit is an appropriate destination for field trips by our Catholic schools.”

It was a joint statement from Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, and Robert W. Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Since most of the readers here are not from the Kansas City Metro, you might not get the significance of a stand against “Bodies”. It was the most hyped event I’ve seen in my two and a half years here. Business, media and government were all full-force behind it as a step in saving Kansas City’s financially-troubled, landmark Union Station. To oppose “Bodies” was to oppose Kansas City. The bishops’ opposition to “Bodies” brought them much more ridicule on the local level than their more widely known stands which have garnered national attention.

Their stand on “Bodies” turned out to be prophetic as well, since we now know that the proof of consent for the use of these Chinese bodies was non-existent and several legislatures have now regulated these corpse shows.

Anyhow, to the point of this post – Thank you Mr. Stigall. It’s much appreciated and very refreshing at this particular time. Do read the rest of his column.