Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told a radio talk show host Monday that he believes fewer than 25 percent of those working in the “mainstream … elite” media have religious faith, and expressed surprise at what he termed was media hostility to President Trump.
“It’s just amazing to me how hostile the press is to everything the president does,” Chaput told the California-based Hugh Hewitt, a Catholic conservative.
“I don’t want to be partisan in my comments here, but it seems to me if we are really serious about our common responsibilities, we support the president,” Chaput said, “whether we accept everything he stands for or not, and wish him success rather than trying to undermine him.
“The elite, of course, kind of pooh-pooh religious faith ... very deliberately,” Chaput said. “It is important to us not to desire to be a part of that with the elite, to the point that we give up our faith.”
He did not offer any data to support his contention that news media are markedly less religious than the general public — an idea Hewitt proposed to him.
According to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center, 29 percent of journalists who worked in "national" media and 37 percent in "local" media said they attended worship at least once a month. Thirty-four percent of those in print media and 23 percent in broadcast said they never attended worship.
The archdiocese reported last year that 20 percent of Catholics in its boundaries attended Mass each weekend. That number is down from 24 percent in 2006 and 34 percent in 1990.
An outspoken critic of secularizing trends in the United States, and a vocal critic of abortion and same-sex marriage, Chaput was on the air to promote a new book, Strangers in a Strange Land, that calls on Catholics to live their faith rigorously in what he sees as a “post-Christian world.” It is due in bookstores next Tuesday.
Chaput said he believes Americans are well within their rights to disagree with a president, “and I think it is important to do that, especially on issues that count, you know, [such as] moral issues. Nonetheless, it's important for us to at least hope for success so that our country can come to a better place.”
Philadelphia’s archbishop since 2011, Chaput, 72, also said he thought that conservatives showed the “same sort of hostility, to a lesser extent, to President Obama,” but that the “elite” media’s hostility to Trump reveals “a greater spirit of despair and anxiety.”
Hewitt’s show is broadcast on about 75 radio stations.