natural family planning

Tiffany Rivers is expecting child No. 9: Oh yeah, she is married to that NFL quarterback

Tiffany Rivers is expecting child No. 9: Oh yeah, she is married to that NFL quarterback

It’s Sunday, which means the National Football League is all over the place on television.

I have a request to make of GetReligion readers who plan to watch the Cincinnati Bengals play the Los Angeles Chargers this afternoon. Please be on the alert for displays of fecundopobia during the pregame show for this game, or during the contest itself.

What, you ask, is “fecundopobia”?

That term was created a number of years ago by M.Z. “GetReligionista emerita” Hemingway. Here is the overture for a post at The Federalist in which she explains what’s up, starting with the headline: “Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear Of Children And Fertile Women.”

Last week Deadspin ran six sentences and a picture under the headline “Philip Rivers Is An Intense Weirdo.” The final two sentences about the San Diego Charger quarterback were blunt:

“And he’s also about to have his seventh kid. There are going to be eight people with Rivers DNA running around this world.”

Ah yes. How “intensely weird” it is for an NFL player to be having his seventh kid. Except that it isn’t weird at all for an NFL player to have his seventh kid. It’s only weird for an NFL player to have seven kids with his one wife.

Take former Charger and current New York Jet Antonio Cromartie. He’s fathered at least 12 children with eight different women. In fact, when the Jets picked the cornerback up from the Chargers, they provided him with a $500,000 advance so he could make outstanding child support payments. (You can watch him struggle to name some of his children here.)

Well, things have gotten even WORSE since then — which is why I want people to watch the Charger game today and take some notes.

You see, the Rivers team has been busy — some more. In fact, the family is joyfully expecting child No. 9 (and that isn’t a jersey number).

Here is the top of a short ESPN item about this announcement. Let’s play “spot the flash of strangeness” in this news copy.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Plan for this must-cover Godbeat item in 2018: The 50th anniversary of 'Humanae Vitae'

Plan for this must-cover Godbeat item in 2018: The 50th anniversary of 'Humanae Vitae'

Rightly or wrongly, most papal encyclicals land in newsrooms with a thud.

But there were no yawns in 1968 when Pope Paul VI issued his birth-control edict “Humanae Vitae,” which provoked a global uproar inside and outside his church.

Retrospectives will be a must item on reporters’ calendars around July 25, the 50th anniversary of this landmark. News angles include a monthly series at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University to rethink the doctrine, which started in October and runs through May 24. The listing (in Italian) is here (.pdf).

Paul declared that Catholicism, “by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.” The Pope believed this fusion of the “unitive” and “procreative” aspects in marital acts is mandated by “natural law” as defined by predecessor Popes Pius XI (1930 encyclical “Casti Connubii”), and Pius XII (1951 “Address to Midwives”). Paul concluded the recent development of  “The Pill” changed nothing.

Though the pope said priests were bound to support this teaching, many joined lay Catholics and Protestants in opposing the church’s “each and every” requirement. Pope John Paul II later supported predecessor Paul, and recently so did Pope Francis, though with a twist

Key themes for reporters to assess:

First: Many analysts argue that the wide-ranging dissent on the birth-control pronouncement has weakened the church’s over-all moral authority.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Thinking about all those Pope Francis quotes: John L. Allen Jr. offers three calm guidelines

Thinking about all those Pope Francis quotes: John L. Allen Jr. offers three calm guidelines

The questions have become so familiar, by now.

What did Pope Francis say this time?

What did the mainstream press say that Pope Francis said this time?

The wise news consumer, of course, asks one more question: Does the Vatican or some other form of Catholic media have a transcript posted online that shows us what Pope Francis actually said this time and perhaps even enough context to know what the words that he said may have meant?

The classic case of this syndrome, of course, is the infamous "Who am I to judge?" quote that launched a million headlines. Have you ever actually read a transcript on that one? Please do so, because it's enlightening.

Now we have the pope's statements expressing a surprising degree of openness to seeing married men ordained as priests (other than in the Eastern rite and in cases of Anglicans and Lutherans moving into Catholic ministry). That story has actually received some pretty decent coverage, in my opinion. If you've seen stories that botched it, please let your GetReligionistas hear about it.

Meanwhile, it's clear that wise news consumers need some guidelines on how to read coverage of off-the-cuff, spontaneous remarks by Pope Francis. The person I would turn to, of course, is the omnipresent John L. Allen, Jr. of Crux (who I actually got to meet the other night, after years of online and telephone contacts).

Allen has written a Crux think piece that will do the trick, with this headline: "Rules of thumb for processing the latest papal bombshell." He notes, with a nod to realities deeper than newsprint:

Please respect our Commenting Policy