Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Bullying language and a publisher's prerogative. Bad as the Vatican's recent statement on homosexuality may be, it does go out of its way to assert that lesbians and gay men must be treated with dignity (see "Rome Casts Its Ballot," News and Features, August 8).

Quoting from earlier Church doctrine, the statement says that "men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.'" This may amount to little more than hypocrisy -- and as the saying goes, "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue" -- but at least it's better than the bishops' sitting around telling homo jokes over a few brewskis.

Unfortunately, they didn't get the message over at the Pilot, the official weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. An editorial this week on the Vatican statement (second item), headlined "Courageous Document," begins with this sneering lead: "The GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) agenda is advancing quickly these days."

Like the N-word among African-Americans, the Q-word is sometimes used in a joking manner among gays and lesbians themselves. But for an official publication of the Church to invoke it is insulting, degrading, and utterly lacking in "respect, compassion and sensitivity."

As archbishop, Seán O'Malley is publisher of the Pilot. He should call editor Antonio Enrique in for a chat about appropriate language at the first opportunity.

The definition of a conflict of interest. A freelance reporter for the Globe's Globe West section wrote "about 300 articles" about the Newton Public Schools while serving on the state-mandated advisory board of her children's elementary school, according to this story by Sarah Andrews, in the Newton Tab.

Writes Andrews: "Newton conservatives say they have been complaining for three years that writer Gail Spector's work for the Globe's West Weekly section has been biased." It looks like they had a legitimate beef.

Ellen Clegg, the Globe editor who runs the regional news sections, called Spector's dual role "a violation of Globe policy," and said Spector would no longer cover Newton.

Newton conservative Tom Mountain gloats here.

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