Editor of Kansas City Diocesan Newspaper Launches Smear Campaign against Catholic Social Justice Groups

Posted September 05, 2008

I had a disturbing conversation today Jack Smith, editor of the Catholic Key – the official newspaper of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. On Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, Mr. Smith posted a factually inaccurate and misleading story about Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United on the Catholic Key’s blog. Apparently, Mr. Smith is now actively pitching his story to other Internet news outlets.

In addition to numerous false claims about the nature and activities of Catholics in Alliance, Mr. Smith uses Chicago prelate Cardinal Francis George’s words to make the implicit charge that Catholics United supports “the legal status quo on abortion.” Let me state unequivocally that Catholics United does not support efforts aimed at keeping abortion legal. We do support common ground common sense solutions to the abortion tragedy, the same solutions Pope John Paul II writes of in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, and the same solutions we feel a majority of Americans – of all political persuasions – can unite behind.

As I told Mr. Smith, my main concern is that the Catholic Key is trying to pass off as fact a story that is entirely rooted in opinion. I expressed my hope that the publication would allow me to respond to the charges leveled against our movement, and that in the future he would speak me and Catholics in Alliance director Alexia Kelley before writing about our organizations – so as to provide the Key’s readers a balanced, well-researched, and unbiased account of the facts. This seemed to me a reasonable request. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith indicated to me he has no intention of engaging in this sort of dialogue.

It is profoundly unfortunate that a Catholic diocese would use its precious resources to slander the lay ministry of organizations like ours. Our Church and our nation are in desperate need of leaders who will transcend the politics of division and engage in positive, productive dialogue on the crucial moral concerns of our day. We hope and pray that Mr. Smith and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will reconsider their decision to avoid this important conversation.

Chris Korzen
Executive Director
Catholics United

UPDATE: Catholics United has formally asked Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to remedy this situation.