29. August, 2013Blog Post 11 comments

According to a post on the FaceBook page of Ann Rogers, the Anglican religion writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

I will be leaving the Post-Gazette on Sept. 5 to become communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. I haven’t swum the Tiber, but they told me that 33 years of wading in it have saturated me enough to do this job. I am deeply grateful to the Post-Gazette for 20 years of unparalleled support for the religion beat and for me personally. I have the best team of editors anywhere in journalism. But I have covered the beat for 33 years, 25 of them in Pittsburgh, and it’s time for a new challenge. I look forward to a job where I can express my Christian faith, while serving a church that does incredible good in Western Pennsylvania and worldwide. My best to all of you. Stay in touch.

Seriously? The Diocese of Pittsburgh couldn’t find a faithful Catholic to fill the post?

Don’t blame Ann Rodgers. It’s not her fault the local ordinary, Bishop David A. Zubik, lacks the basic Catholic common sense necessary to recognize the importance of hiring an individual who is committed to the mission of the Catholic Church as his communications director.

Then again, this presumes that His Excellency is in possession of a decent working knowledge of what that mission actually is; namely, converting the world to Jesus Christ, which necessarily means converting individuals to the Catholic Church.

No doubt, the weak-kneed Cotton Candy Catholics among us will blather on about Rodgers’ journalistic acumen, offering congratulations to both her and the diocese for a decision well-made. The more well-grounded, however, cannot help but recognize Bishop Zubik’s episcopal malpractice for what it is.

According to Rodgers, “I look forward to a job where I can express my Christian faith, while serving a church that does incredible good in Western Pennsylvania and worldwide.”

Isn’t that lovely; she’s looking forward to taking up her role as communications director for a Catholic diocese so she can express her Christian faith, a faith that is by definition at odds with the Catholic faith. It is, however, comforting to know that she sees the Catholic Church in Pittsburgh as “a church” that performs any number of good works, as presumably so many other area “churches” do. How sweet.

Did anyone bother to tell Ms. Rodgers that the position entails working not for “a church,” but for the Church, in fact the one true Church and the only Church established by Our Blessed Lord?

Nah… I suppose not, and even if they had, it likely would have fallen on Anglican ears anyway.


  1. FJH3 August 29, 2013 6:29 pm

    A stunningly absurd hiring decision. Wow!

  2. Romulus August 29, 2013 8:48 pm

    In this barbarous age no one should expect much from wordsmiths, but seeing that her specialty is matters of faith, it’s especially discouraging that Ann Rodgers doesn’t know what “incredible” means.

  3. Proteios1 August 30, 2013 1:33 am

    How about the other side of that equation?
    Why weren’t more of us ‘faithful Catholics’ vying for the job? Why? Because we have better things to do then advocate for our faith. Just whine when others don’t do the work for us. Well done, Brethren.

  4. Capt. Donnie August 31, 2013 12:00 pm

    Just another brick in the homogenized WorldChurch wall. Since the first shots of the Modernist crowd were called out by ++Pope St. Pius X, the intent has been to divide, conquer and rebuild The Church into a homogenized, touchy-feely-nice amalgamation church where secular enlightenment rules the day, and no one judges anything. Kum Ba Ya you know.
    Please Lord, end this.

  5. Keith G. Kondrich September 1, 2013 5:11 pm

    I find it interesting that all of the critics are so proud of their “Catholic” faith that they post their missives using nicknames rather than their real names. Standup and be counted or shut up.

  6. Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz September 2, 2013 12:36 am

    Louie, I know Ann personally. She is a woman of the utmost integrity. While she is not (yet) Catholic, she has been highly respected by Cardinal Wuerl and is obviously respected by Bishop Zubick. Your slams at both the bishop and Ann are really uncharitable and I think you should apologize and take this post down.

  7. Dan Crawford September 2, 2013 2:38 am

    Ms. Rogers is a person of sterling integrity who seeks and reports the truth in whatever she writes. Which is not something one can say about the propagandists of EWTN and others areas of the “Catholic” media.

  8. Louie September 2, 2013 3:20 pm

    Thanks to both Thomas and Dan for their defense of Ann Rodgers. Let’s look at what they have to offer:

    - Anne has integrity.

    I am perfectly willing to assume that this is true. In fact, her announcement serves as solid proof. She is forthright enough to say, and I believe her, that she looks forward to expressing *her* Christian faith in her new job.

    - Anne is respected by certain well known churchmen.

    Irrelevant, but OK, I trust that she is.

    - Anne reports the truth.

    Fine, but let’s be honest, “truth,” according to Ann, as it regards the identity of the Catholic Church is at odds with how the Church defines herself, obviously.

    So, looking ahead, how will she communicate the truth about those Catholic doctrines she does not accept? Based on her integrity, I suppose every statement on such topics will have to be prefaced with “according to Catholic doctrine,” or “the Church believes…”

    Being familiar with the work of the communications director in my own diocese, it is clear that the position entails far more than just regurgitating prepared statements; it involves preparing those statements, as well as oversight of every campaign that serves to communicate the mission of the Church in the diocese.

    That a diocese would hire someone to do this who doesn’t even have enough “buy in” to the mission to know why it’s important for her own salvation to be Catholic, is just laughable.

    Saying so is hardly a “slam” on Anne Rodgers. I think I made it rather plain that it’s not her fault no one at the diocese had the Catholic common sense to let her know that she isn’t qualified to be the spokesperson for a Catholic diocese for the reasons just stated. Ultimately, Bishop Zubik is to blame.

    If you’d like weigh in with an argument in favor of hiring diocesan communications directors that obviously don’t believe that the Catholic Church is what she claims to be, have at it.

  9. Deacon Greg Kandra September 2, 2013 3:48 pm

    If being Catholic were the only qualification for the job, I’m sure Pittsburgh could find many qualified candidates within the diocese.

    But any job description for a Diocescan Communications Director would also need to include these qualifications:

    + Strong management skills and the ability to juggle several assignments under deadline in an often-stressful environment…
    + Understanding of media strategies and public relations in a rapidly shifting media landscape…
    + Excellent writing and editing skills…
    + An understanding of the church’s role in the world and fundamental teachings in relation to other faiths…
    + A grasp of church history, particularly in the Diocese of Pittsburgh…
    + Ability to develop and maintain strong relationships with media across all platforms, including television, print, radio and the internet…
    + A nuanced understanding of the church hierarchy…
    + Ability to conceive, craft, launch and execute media campaigns to promote the work of the church in a variety of platforms…
    + Excellent public speaking skills and the ability to handle live interviews and press briefings …
    + Strong sense of both consultation and collaboration with the local bishop and the desire to execute his vision and communicate it to the public.

    Also the candidate in question must be familiar with the church in Pittsburgh, and if not a resident of the region, be willing to relocate and quickly get up to speed.

    He or she would also be willing to work for whatever salary the diocese was willing to offer.

    Considering these qualifications and others — does the candidate need to be bilinqual? Is there a strong “comfort factor” between the person hiring and the candidate? — the pool of strong candidates for this job is relatively small. Ann Rogers, with her stellar history and resume, would be the top of anyone’s list. To dismiss her simply because she’s not Catholic seems both narrow and petty. She probably knows the workings of the church better than many cradle Catholics—and can communicate it as well, or better, than anyone.

    One more thing: a few years ago, I interviewed for a similar job in a diocese and one of the questions asked was: “How would you handle a bombshell report in the papers about a sex abuse allegation?”

    There’s no one answer to that. But in this day and age, how someone decides to handle a crisis like that may trump everything else.

  10. Capt. Donnie September 2, 2013 3:54 pm

    Agreed Louie.How anyone in this Diocese expects to re-awaken Catholic identity while at the same time marginalizing it by hiring non Catholics for key Diocesan positions is beyond me. And it happens everywhere across the country. I stand by my earlier post: more homogenizing of The Church. And this was one of the lurking bombs buried in the V-II documents, to destroy any semblance of Catholicism from the Church in order to establish a new, homogenized Church incorporating all Christian, and non Christian sects under one big happy umbrella. And from the looks of most Masses I attend in my area, it has succeeded quite well.

    p.s. Kieth Kondrich, the name is Capt. Donnie Morgan, so it is my name.

  11. Louie September 2, 2013 4:01 pm

    Thanks, Deacon Kandra.

    Who said being Catholic was the “only qualification” for the job? I simply maintain that it is a necessary requirement, and in case it’s not obvious, I mean truly Catholic; i.e., not a Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius type.

    The list of qualifications you provide underscore the reason.

    + An understanding of the church’s role in the world and fundamental teachings in relation to other faiths…

    If an individual truly understands the Church’s role and her fundamental teachings, that person would be Catholic.

    + Ability to conceive, craft, launch and execute media campaigns to promote the work of the church in a variety of platforms…

    To fully embrace the “work of the Church” in such way as to effectively promote it is to be Catholic.

    It is simply illogical to say that Ann meets the qualifications that you presented. As it is, either Ann will be put in a position to communicate truths that she does not personally accept, or the message itself must be compromised to the point where she and other non-Catholics feel they can agree.

    Exactly which one of these scenarios is praiseworthy?

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