The St. Louis Review has drawn attention in this space often. As the official Catholic newspaper, it of course will be the ordinary vehicle for the Archdiocese to inform its faithful, and to promote the faith.
Ideally, the goals of the editor and the goals of the Archbishop when it comes to promoting the faith would perfectly coincide.
The Review's decision to print the CNS story that obfuscated and attempted to excuse Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Biden's pro-abortion record is an example of how this is not always perfectly realized.
The Review does a very good job in its mission overall, and there has been some really great coverage at times, such as the in depth issue at Archbishop Burke's farewell announcement.
However, on another matter in today's issue, there is a story about the Traditional Mass one year after the motu proprio that doesn't quite satisfy.
It is well-known that Archbishop Burke is a strong supporter of the widespread availability of the Traditional Mass. Bishop Hermann also has often celebrated this form of the Roman Rite. Therefore, it is nice to see an article about the local support for the TLM.
The article is well-written by Jennifer Brinker and highlights many of the area's Traditional Mass locations-- the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine, Assumption Parish, other locations and finally St. Francis de Sales Oratory-- the largest TLM-only community (averaging about 1200 people for Sunday Masses) and a kind of center for the Extraordinary Form in the Archdiocese.
Therefore, I don't want to be misunderstood about the quibble I am about to make. It is a molehill, not a mountain.
The amount of space allotted on a given page and the choice and location of photos are editorial decisions. Thus, I have an issue with the layout of this story. The headline reads as follows:
Latin Mass supported, one year after papal ruling
On the front page the only community mentioned is the West County Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine, and the article states that this relatively new (and growing) location has 40 families and draws 100-150 faithful on Sunday. There is no picture accompanying the story on the front page; it is included on the back page of that section. It is a photo of that Oratory with about 15-20 people visible.
Now, although the article discusses and gives information about other locations, and notes as I said above the very large and growing numbers of the faithful at St. Francis de Sales, my question is this: Is the arrangement of the story to include only the smaller location on page one and including only the sparsely populated photo in back designed to give an impression that the headline should be read to say this?:
Latin Mass supported by few, one year after papal ruling
I am in no way knocking the West County community-- everything I have heard from people who attend there has been positive about the Oratory and the Benedictine priests who administer it. That is not the point. I think that if I wanted to print a story about the fact that the TLM is really supported in this Archdiocese, the picture I would run would be slightly different-- St. Francis de Sales is just down the street from the Review, attracts a ton of people each week in a gorgeous setting just tailor-made for the Traditional Mass, and would make a great picture to visually support the thrust of the story.
If the intent was to try to promote some of the lesser-known Mass locations, why not print multiple pictures?
Again, noting that I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, I can't help but put the layout of the story in the context of the Review's treatment of other stories on the TLM, especially in the run up to, and coverage of, the motu proprio issued last year. Typically, the position of the Review has been lukewarm at best.
And so, I am done. The article is here.