However, this being the internet, everyone has an opinion on it, and, this being the internet, most of them are, to put it as charitably as possible, devoid of logic. Here's the part that has caused the most consternation: Apparently, a Vatican official has called the act of leaking the encyclical ahead of time 'heinous'. Personally, I find the term slightly melodramatic, but I have no say in the matter.
The first that I read to comment on this little affair was Fr.Z. Father begins by explaining- after he published a link to the encyclical yesterday and began commenting on it- that usually one does not scoop the Vatican. It is an unwritten gentleman's rule, apparently.
The Holy See’s spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, asked journalists to respect the “embargo”. I note that there was no indication of an embargo on the copy that I saw. That said, having spent a lot of time around the Holy See Press Office, it seems to me a solid and understood expectation not to jump out too far in advance of official releases. We just didn’t/don’t do that. Still, there wasn’t a clear indication of embargo that I could see. Perhaps it was included in some accompanying letter sent to Magister’s editor at L’Espresso.
I find the logic here a little specious: Father did not see anything that indicated there was an embargo, therefore it is okay that he linked to it, although he is also aware that there is an understanding that he shouldn't, and so he did it anyway? I don't find this convincing. The Vatican released to the Press an item they intended to release to the general public later on in the week, so the press would have a chance to go over it and prepare their articles. This is a fairly common practice between governments and their agencies and the press. The understanding would have been to keep it under their hats until the proper time. I don't see how they failed to understand that this was not to be released until the encyclical itself was released.
Then Father reaches the 'heinous' part, and he sets the tone that every other commenter I've read follows:
“Heinous”? Like what ISIS does to children and women?
Cute. And distracting.
Others are chiming in and claiming variations of this, or making other claims, like '"Why don't they call abortion heinous?" or "why don't they say something about the gays?"
It is not a logical but a rhetorical move, and it is a weak one at that. It is purely rhetorical, because, logically, it's nonsense. What are you trying to say when you yoke these two things together? The one has nothing to do with the other. Are you saying that what Magister did was not bad because others do worse? Are you arguing that bad is not bad because worse is worse? This is the response of a child in a playground who gets caught by a teacher: "I wasn't that bad! So and So was doing something worse! Why are you picking on me?"
Or are you saying that every time the Vatican speaks against this or that wrong doing, they must either preface their remarks or make an addendum that states: "And furthermore, these things are also wrong: starting with the A's..." Because they can't condemn anything unless they condemn everything?
What Magister did was wrong, people. The Vatican spokesman is calling him out on it. As I said, perhaps whoever called the act 'heinous' is overstating it, but pointing out that others do worse does not make what he did right. Be adults, admit the mistake, and move on.