In the 1930s, Nazis routinely invaded religious services at synagogues. There have been many copycat events in the United States since that time, most of which have taken place in Catholic churches. The latest incident took place on Jan. 22, the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion-on-demand.
The venue was St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio. While Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan was celebrating a pro-life Mass, a group of protesters stormed the cathedral. They held up pro-abortion signs and chanted anti-Catholic slogans, leaving Catholics in attendance in a state of shock.
Bishop Brennan thanked the Columbus Police for acting swiftly to restore order and before anyone was hurt. He also expressed his admiration and thanks to those who endured this event.
There are two major stories here. One is the decision by anti-Catholic protesters to crash the Mass; the other is the media blackout.
One TV station, 10WBNS (the local CBS affiliate), covered this story. One local paper, the Columbus Dispatch, made mention of what happened. MSN, Catholic News Agency, LifeSiteNews and Breitbart also did stories on the protest, as well as a handful of small outlets. That was pretty much it.
Where were the major media outlets in Ohio? Where was the Associated Press? Where were the cable TV news stories?
When a Nazi-like event takes place in 2021, and the media respond with a yawn, it means either they don't care what happens to Catholics or they find it vaguely amusing. That would be the generous view.
A less generous interpretation would be that they think the church-busting was deserved. The media are on a roll demonizing what they call White Christian Nationalists, an ill-defined group of people who are allegedly seeking to take command of America. So when fascists crash a Catholic Mass—especially one that honors pro-life Catholics—it is hard for the media to get worked up about it.
A recent poll shows that less than half the public trusts the media. That lack of trust is a function of distorted news stories, instances when editorializing is substituted for hard news. It is also attributable to glaring instances of omission. Add what happened at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Columbus to the latter list.
Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.