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Utah bishop urges press to deepen coverage of Pope Francis

First Published      Last Updated Oct 16 2013 05:04 pm

The leader of Utah's 300,000 Catholics has a message for reporters: Dig deeper for stories about Pope Francis, his vision for the faith and his impact on his native South America.

Bishop John C. Wester, who oversees the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and heads the U.S. bishops' Committee on Communications, delivered the keynote address last week at a conference in Washington, D.C.

Wester urged the gathering of journalists and historians at The Catholic University of America to cover the church as a "movement," reports Carol Zimmermann of Catholic News Service, and encouraged them to examine Latino Catholics and the Argentine pope's influence in South America.

The Utah clergyman, according to CNS, criticized some coverage of the headline-grabbing Francis, pointing to news accounts about the pope's interview in September's America magazine that said the pontiff "isn't interested in talking about abortion, homosexuality or contraception."

No so, said Wester, who, CNS reports, called Francis a "strong, unflinching advocate for life from conception to natural death and ... remains a strong voice that promotes the church's teaching on moral issues related to sexual ethics."

Wester said the pope was "challenging us to maintain a balance, a perspective," according to CNS, in the quest to "change hearts and minds" and advance the "gospel of life."