The Director and Editor in Chief of the Catholic News Service, which is the official news and information service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued public statements decrying proposed legislation in several states that would protect religious freedom and deny men pretending to be women the “right” to enter women’s bathrooms.
Tony Spence has been the head of the Catholic News Service since 2004. Over the last few weeks, Spence has been publishing statements on his own twitter feed, identifying him as the head of CNS, speaking out against legislative efforts to protect the religious freedoms of individuals, businesses and churches.
On 24 March 2016, Spence claimed that “LGBT protections get flushed as NC governor signs bill over #bathroomwars.”
According to the article linked to by Spence, the bill would have reaffirmed already existing non-discrimination laws for businesses and public services while clarifying that discrimination on the basis of sex was a reference to one’s biological reality, not on one’s deviant fantasy. Furthermore, the new law prevents perverted men pretending to be women from entering into women’s bathrooms.
Spence’s public twitter statement directly conflicts with a 2015 statement made by Charolotte, North Carolina Bishop Peter Jugis regarding a local ordinance to include sexual orientation in non-discrimination policies. Bp. Jugis said:
“I pray that the City Council will provide all of the people of Charlotte with an ordinance that respects our constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. God made men and women different; as a society, we should respect that difference.”
On 28 March 2016, Spence doubled down on twitter, suggesting that the North Carolina governor should have followed the Georgia governor’s example by NOT signing the religious freedom legislation into law. Linking to an article about the governor of Georgia’s veto of the religious liberty bill, Spence said, “Too bad the NC Republican gov didn’t call him last week for a consult.”
More recently, on 7 April 2016, Spence issued a statement calling the measures to protect the religious liberty of individuals and businesses “stupid.”
In his twitter statement, Spence included Missouri in the list of “stupid” “pro-discrimination laws.” According to the article linked to by Spence in this statement:
“Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday signed a far-reaching law allowing people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and protecting other actions considered discriminatory by gay rights activists.”
Clearly, the head of the Catholic News Service has an agenda that is in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Given that he so openly sided with the homosexual agenda, against faithful and practicing Catholics both in the pews and in the clergy, some previous statements of his now take on a decidedly pro-homosexual tenor as well.
In this twitter statement from 14 March, Spence praised the pro-homosexual analysis of an article in The Atlantic regarding the shift in conservative Christian Colleges to accepting homosexuality on campus.
On 10 March, Spence stated that the shift in GOP strategy to move away from fighting against Same-Sex, so-called “marriage” to defending religious liberties “fooled no one.”
On 9 March, Spence published a public statement on Twitter that “Holding it is not an option” regarding a Catholic school’s ban on transgender students. The article linked to by Spence favors the homosexual/transgender agenda.
On 17 February, Spence warned that homosexual adoptions in Italy were at risk, calling them “rights.”
In 2010, Spence was presented with the Catholic Press Association’s St. Francis de Sales Award, which is the “highest award the CPA presents to an individual for “outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism.” In light of what Spence has been writing in direct attacks against Catholic moral and social teaching, one has to wonder if CPA will demand its award back.
In a major twist of irony, and now apparent hypocrisy, it was Spence who, in 2013, ended Catholic News Services’ relationship with Adam Shaw, an editor for the FOX News website. Shaw had been working with Catholic News Service as a film and video game reviewer. On 4 December of 2013, Shaw published an opinion piece on FOX News’ website criticizing Pope Francis by comparing him to US President Barack Obama. Two days later, Shaw was no longer welcome at CNS. What is so ironic is that the statement issued by Tony Spence regarding his reasons for severing ties with Shaw absolutely applies for him regarding these statements on twitter now. Spence said:
“(W)hen he penned the recent piece on Pope Francis, comparing him to President Obama, and presenting it as an op/ed, he seriously compromised his credibility as an objective Catholic journalist for CNS. Had Adam merely reported on the pope’s apostolic exhortation, even citing unflattering sources, there would have been no problem. However, Adam’s caustic condemnation of the exhortation and of Francis himself, one of the key figures we cover daily with objectivity, fairness and certainly charity, left me little choice but to end his service with us.”
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If a low-level reporter at the Catholic News Service is released for issuing his own public opinions regarding the pope, then surely the head of the same agency should likewise be released for issuing public opinions that are in direct conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching.