If it is necessary and acceptable to point out the failings and demerits of the national press, it is mandatory to speak out when the media perform in a stellar fashion.
There is great consternation in some quarters about the way the national press is handling the crisis facing the Catholic Church. To some degree the criticism is valid; there is a piling on mentality in the press, with some media reports taking a deliberate anti-Catholic stance. On the other hand and this is more a personal observation, speaking as a Catholic to a certain degree the Catholic Church has brought this on herself, particularly considering the manner in which the bishops have (mis)handled the situation. Either way, however, one thing is certain: The news has been filled with negative stories about the Catholic Church.
It is in this light that it was almost shocking to tune into CNN and watch the airing of Padre Pio: The Path to Sainthood, the half-hour special report hosted by Christiane Amanpour on Sunday, June 16. It was a serious, meticulously-researched, respectful examination into the life of Padre Pio, one of the most important figures in the Catholic Church in the 20th century, a holy monk who has been beatified and is expected to be named a saint by the Church. Ms. Amanpour carefully explored the views of both believers and skeptics of his Stigmata (receiving the wounds of Christ, and from which he suffered greatly for 50 years) as well as the miracles attributed to him. Regardless of ones faith, one could not help but be moved, and inspired, by the extraordinary story.
Coming at a time when the news for Catholics is so bad, it was not just a welcome change, it was a blast of fresh air. Speaking professionally as a media critic, I publicly commend CNN and Ms. Amanpour for their wonderful presentation. Speaking personally as a Catholic, I thank them.