My meeting with the publisher of the Effingham Daily News went about as well as could be expected but still not as I had hoped.
He agreed to contact the Associated Press for clarification of the article. He would not accept the fact that the article was false and he also would not accept the actual documents I brought with me to read and judge for himself. He will not issue an apology for the false article claiming something about contract with the Associated Press (which, even if true, is still quite inexcusable). And so the battle wages on.
An update thus far:
Phase I: Meeting with the Editor - Mission failed
Phase II: Meeting with the Publisher - Mission failed
Phase III: Letter of Protest to the Publisher from the Deanery Priests - Signatures being collected, to be finished tomorrow and delivered no later than Wednesday evening
Phase IV: Petition within area parishes - to commence if Phase III should fail
Phase V: Request to Catholic advertisers to withdraw their advertisements - to commence if Phase IV should fail
Phase VI: Call for Catholic boycott of the paper - to commence if Phase V should fail
I spent much of the day today - all afternoon and well into the evening - driving around the deanery collecting the signatures from the local priests.
I spent an hour and a half visiting with one of the priests, two hours with another, and another hour and a half with a third. It was a great joy! We don't have too many opportunities - or at least we don't seek them out - to visit with each other one on one. I must say that the Effingham Deanery is blessed with very good priests, not to mention ones who have been very supportive of my efforts with the paper.
The letter that we are signing reads as follows:
We, the undersigned Roman Catholic Priests ministering in the Effingham Deanery of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, do hereby protest the false representation of the Roman Catholic Church and her teachings by the Effingham Daily News.
On Tuesday, 10 July 2007, the Effingham Daily News published an Associated Press article by Ms. Nicole Winfield titled, “Other Christians,” containing several misrepresentations of the document issued the same day by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled, “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.” Ms. Winfield’s article falsely quoted from the document of the same Congregation issued in 2000, “Dominus Iesus,” together with other false statements.
The Effingham Daily News edited Ms. Winfield’s article, originally titled “Pope: Other Christians not true churches,” thereby making the article more accusatory and condemnatory of the Roman Catholic Church and further blurring fact and fiction.
This falsified article led to no small discord in the Effingham community and the surrounding areas, largely due to the inaccuracy and lack of journalistic integrity evidenced by the article, as demonstrated by Mr. Michael Antrim’s Letter to the Editor published 20 July 2007 with the title, “Salvation found in Scriptures.”
We, the undersigned, sincerely and urgently call for a formal notice within the pages of the Effingham Daily News recognizing and correcting the false statements made within the article. Furthermore, we request - in the strongest terms possible - a printed apology for the harm caused by such a lack of professionalism. We respectfully ask that both of these be done without delay and placed where clearly visible.