Business and financial reporters are required to have a certain aptitude with their subject matter for acceptable coverage, and to another extent so do political reporters. Often it seems that religion reporters do not.
In a remarkable display of journalistic ignorance of Catholic teaching, the Associated Press has reported that the “implicit understanding of the need to follow just civil laws dates to a 1965 document from the Second Vatican Council, Gaudem et Spes.”
In addition to misspelling Gaudium et Spes–the Latin title of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World– the Associated Press appears to be unaware of the constant teaching of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium on the moral obligation under the Fourth Commandment to obey just civil laws. For example, St. Paul exhorted Christians to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (Rom. 13:1), the Epistle to Diognetus noted that Christians “obey the established laws,” and the Catechism of the Council of Trent taught authoritatively about the “honor, respect, and obedience” owed to “civil rulers, governors, magistrates, and others to whose authority we are subject.”
The media don’t get religion. But they’re trying.