| By Father Joseph Waters

News Outlets You Can Trust

Question: It seems like Pope Francis is always in the headlines, but I know you can’t believe everything you read. What are some trustworthy news websites, publications, or podcasts that you recommend so that I can stay informed about national and international events involving Pope Francis and the Catholic Church?

ANSWER: Your question is important. Our fidelity to Pope Francis as Successor of St. Peter should lead us to sort out the actual facts from the secular media’s coverage of the pope. This is difficult because secular news and commentary view the Church from the outside, and so can erroneously project their bias onto the pope. Catholics need to view Church news from the inside as faithful members. Even some of the Catholic media can have ideological biases, which need to be filtered out of their coverage of Pope Francis. Therefore, Catholics want to find media sources that give the bigger picture of Francis’ pontificate and communicate his message free of distortion.

One should consider why the media, secular and Catholic, sometimes find it difficult to report on Pope Francis and his message. I think it is because, in many ways, Pope Francis is a new voice speaking for the Universal Church. Being from the global south, he brings a missionary emphasis to his papacy. His life story hardwires the Pope to be particularly sensitive to those on the margins and to passionately embrace Christ’s preferential option for the poor. Ordained after Vatican II, Francis’ preaching lauds the freshness the Council’s teaching represents for the Church’s mission of evangelization. While he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he also retained his identity as a Jesuit and his Ignatian spirituality.

These qualities lead Pope Francis to speak with a prophetic voice. While his critique of the status quo makes some uncomfortable, Francis asks Catholics to think deeply about their faith. He urges believers to return to faith’s first principles, embrace a more missionary form of discipleship, and live a more integral life in Christ. Sitting in the Chair of Peter gives Francis a broader perspective of the Church’s life and mission. The Pope must preach the Gospel in a language people in every corner of the globe can comprehend. He cannot converse only in a dialect familiar to Western culture.

To find an authentic understanding of Pope Francis' thinking, I recommend Catholics check out the following Catholic news outlets:

The Vatican’s website, which has the full text of all the Pope has authored, translated into English. 

The Vatican News ServiceSubscribe to updates from Vatican News Service at www.vaticannews.va/en/newsletter-registration.html

The Vatican’s official publication L’Osservatore Romano is available in English to subscribers and is a wonderful way to follow news from the Vatican and Pope Francis. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes news of the Pope.

Our diocesan website publishes articles about the pope.

Also because of the internet, Catholics can look to news sources worldwide. One may find that foreign newspapers cover the Church and Pope Francis from a different perspective, which can provide us some balance.

I still follow secular news and Catholic media that has recognizable ideological stances. However, the above-referenced outlets are a good way of fact checking, filtering out biases, and putting the soundbites of papal utterances we find in the media in their proper context, a full expression of Pope Francis’ thoughts on a given issue.

Do you have a question for Father Joe?

If you have a question you would like us to consider for this series, email communicate@dosp.org.