Bishop Michael Olson

Bull Schuck to the rescue! Reader helps us analyze Texas newspaper story on alleged apparitions

Bull Schuck to the rescue! Reader helps us analyze Texas newspaper story on alleged apparitions

Bull Schuck is becoming one of my favorite GetReligion readers.

Why is that?

Because he’s so good at doing my work for me.

Back in June, Schuck — yes, that is his real last name — tipped GetReligion to a petition drive calling for the removal of Fort Worth Catholic Bishop Michael Olson. Earlier this month, he told us about a feature on a fired ESPN staffer who became a priest. In both cases, he shared not just links but also some helpful analysis.

Schuck’s latest email-to-the-rescue followed the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on alleged apparitions this week. I heard about the story Thursday night when the Star-Telegram sent a breaking news alert with the subject line “A charlatan, not Virgin Mary, stirred in Denton, diocese suggests video shows.”

Before I had a chance to read the piece real closely, Schuck contacted us with his thoughts, and — once again — I think they’re worth sharing.

Before we get to his analysis, however, here’s the top of the newspaper’s report:

A rose by any other name — fraud, perhaps — may smell as sweet, but what about its provenance?

Petals found last month on the floor and couch at a “pro-life assistance center” in Denton had an earthly explanation and were not a signal that the Virgin Mary was checking in.

The reality was revealed in surveillance video released by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

At the petals’ discovery, a woman attending Eucharistic adoration at Loreto House on the night of July 27 suggested to administrators that the flowers were apparitions and gifts from the Virgin Mary.

Administrators reported that during adoration, the woman said she had experienced an apparition that included rose petals falling from a book she was using to record the words from the Virgin Mary, the diocese wrote in a statement.

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'Why do you want Bishop Olson to be removed?' Yes, Texas newspaper's survey seems, um, one-sided

'Why do you want Bishop Olson to be removed?' Yes, Texas newspaper's survey seems, um, one-sided

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a somewhat lengthy story out today reporting that “Hundreds of parishioners from across the Diocese of Fort Worth have begun the process to ask Pope Francis to remove Bishop Michael Olson.”

The story quotes in quite a bit of detail a canon lawyer named Philip Gray, who is president of The St. Joseph Foundation. The Star-Telegram says he “is advising the groups, gathering evidence and writing the petition.”

Strangely enough, though, the piece doesn’t quote a single upset parishioner.

So it’s only a minor surprise that the paper has a form at the bottom of the report asking for feedback from readers:

Do you want the Vatican to investigate Bishop Michael Olson or the Fort Worth Diocese? We want to hear your story.

But the wording of one of the questions in particular doesn’t seem entirely, um, impartial.

Here it is:

Why do you want Bishop Olson to be removed?

Not do you want Bishop Olson to be removed? But why do you want Bishop Olson to be removed?

That won’t skew the submissions at all, will it?

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