Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on what he has learned about a CNN documentary on the papacy:

CNN’s six-part series, “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History,” debuts on March 11. It promises to be a comprehensive account of the history of the papacy, covering such historical events as the origins of the Catholic Church, the legalization of Christianity under Constantine, the split between the Catholic and Orthodox churches, the Crusades, the Reformation, and a series of reform measures, such as Vatican II, that have been taken by various popes.

From the trailers posted online, the documentary will feature comments by such distinguished persons as Cardinal Donald Wuerl [!? aka Lavender Don]. But it also profiles strident enemies of the Catholic Church, such as Anthea Butler, a professor who has called God a “white racist.” Surely if CNN were doing a series on gays it would not invite gay bashers to opine, even if the commentary aired in the show proved to be inoffensive.

Hopefully, this documentary will be more accurate than “What the Pope Knew”; it aired on CNN in 2010. It painted a bleak, and sometimes factually incorrect, account of how Pope Benedict XVI handled the sexual abuse scandal. It also failed to interview key persons whose experience with these matters contradicted claims made in the show. To read my analysis of that documentary, click here.

If there is one theme in this new series, it appears to be the incredible power of a “hierarchal” institution: the influence and reach of the Catholic Church is central to the documentary.

There is nothing inherently biased about such a perspective, but when seen through the lens of liberal-left producers and writers—CNN is not known for hiring practicing Catholics to do such shows—it can evince an ideological edge. Moreover, a fixation on power and hierarchy is a signature of left politics.

So for example, one of the segments is dedicated to “Unearthing the Secrets of the Vatican.” The notion that the Catholic Church is riddled with “secrets”—all of which are inexplicably uncovered by industrious producers and writers—is right out of the playbook of its most fierce critics.

In its promotional material, CNN says the series “goes inside the Vatican to reveal the truepower held by popes throughout the ages.” (My italic.) An article posted on Beliefnet about the show mentions that viewers learn how Christians “created a hierarchy,” one whose purpose was “to make sure that everyone was worshipping correctly.” In this rendering, the Church is not so much interested in salvation as it is control.

This perspective fits in with comments made by Liam Neeson, the show’s narrator. Calling himself “an amateur scholar,” Neeson is excited about discussing how “the Catholic Church came to be a prevailing force through fair means and foul.” Prevailing force for what? Good or evil?

CNN likes to hire Neeson to do commentary on Catholicism. In 2010, he narrated a two-hour special, “After Jesus—The First Christians.” Three years later he told CNN viewers how the Church evolved. “Armed with a hierarchy, a distinct set of beliefs and rituals, and canon of sacred texts, the Christian church not only had structure, but had power….” Hierarchy. Power. Those are the defining elements of Catholicism for this “amateur scholar.”

Why does CNN like to hire Neeson? He says he was “raised” Catholic, and we all know what that means. Today he is more well known for his lobbying efforts against the Catholic Church: He wants abortion legalized in Ireland. A few years ago, while Muslims were raping and beheading Christians, he fell in love with Islam and almost converted.

On March 8, CNN posted an interview with Neeson about the new series and other matters. What would he like to ask Pope Francis? He answered, “When will Mary Magdalene be canonized and when can we have women priests?”

Fortunately, I can help the “amateur scholar” out. The answer to the first question is: Mary Magdalene is regarded by the Catholic Church as a First Century saint; her feast day is July 22. The answer to the latter question is: Never.

Neeson aside, it appears that CNN’s obsession with power and hierarchy more accurately reflects what it has become, more than what the Catholic Church is.

In 2015, Business Insider concluded that the Vatican was worth about $3 billion. In 2014, Morgan Stanley estimated CNN’s worth around $10 billion. And while the Catholic Church is a global institution, so is CNN. It has two dozen branded networks and services accessible to more than 2 billion people in more than 200 countries and territories. That’s a lot of power and hierarchy.

Here’s another nugget. The series on the papacy is the joint work of CNN and Glass Entertainment Group. Guess who runs Glass Entertainment? Nancy Glass. Guess who is also one of the executive producers of the CNN series? Nancy Glass. Jon Hirsch is another one of the executive producers, and he is Vice President and Producer at Glass Entertainment.

Power and hierarchy—seems CNN just can’t get enough of it.

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  1. Since the only CNN viewers are visitors to doctors’ offices, airport departure lounges and convicts in Mongolia, ol’ Battlin’ Bill needn’t be over worried about total impact.

  2. What is CNN’s interest in the papacy? CNN founder Ted Turner is a Malthusian globalist involved with promoting global warming and climate change hysteria. Given CNN’s shilling for Hillary Clinton and the creepy Clintonista mafia’s interest in an Alinskyite “Catholic Spring” to neutralize Catholic pro-life activity (as revealed by WikiLeaks), could this be part of that documented anti-Catholic conspiracy by globalist socialists and Malthusians?

    So what went wrong in the “raised Catholic” narrative?

    From Wikipedia:

    “Neeson narrated a video for Amnesty International in favour of the legalisation of abortion in Ireland, which some conservative and pro-life commentators criticised, calling it “creepy” and “anti-Catholic”.”

    Stanley, Tim (21 October 2015). “Amnesty International’s pro-abortion campaign is shamelessly anti-Catholic”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 April 2016.

    Weatherbe, Steve (22 October 2015). “Film star Liam Neeson releases creepy anti-Catholic ad targeting Ireland’s pro-life law”. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved 8 April 2016.

    Judas got thirty pieces of silver. Sad.

  3. [Disappointing as expected]
    Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the first episode of CNN’s series on the papacy:
    Last night was the first installment of CNN’s six-part series, “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History.” Its treatment of the rise of the papacy through the centuries was mostly even-handed—until it got to the Crusades.
    To be sure, the show featured some cogent observations from St. Louis University professor Thomas Madden. He pointed out that “the Crusades were, first and foremost, an act of piety,” undertaken to stop Islamic invaders who were violently attacking nuns, clergy, and pilgrims; the Christians also sought to liberate the holy city of Jerusalem from its Muslim conquerors.
    But Madden’s observations were drowned out by the overriding theme of this segment: that the Crusades were little more than a power grab by Pope Urban II.
    We are told that Pope Urban II saw the Crusades as “an opportunity to reunite Christians and restore the reign of the Roman Catholic Church”; that he “called for violence in the name of one world under one Catholic Church”; that the Crusades, while “partly motivated by religious zeal,” were also “partly motivated by a simple desire for conquest”; and that as a result, Pope Francis “is today trying to heal wounds his predecessor inflicted almost a thousand years ago.”
    Such assertions are nothing new. Princeton’s Bernard Lewis, one of the world’s most noted historians, has written, “At the present time, the Crusades are often depicted as an early experiment in expansionist imperialism.” Yet, “To the people of the time, both Muslim and Christian, they were no such thing.”
    Rather, Lewis explains, “The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war—to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage.”
    Just as important, as Madden has pointed out many times before, “All the Crusades met all the criteria of a just war.” But one would never know this by watching this episode on CNN. There is no question that the uninformed viewer was presented with a jaundiced view of the Crusades.

  4. CNN presenting this is like an Obambam documentary on the Presidency.

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