In 1998 Rupert Murdoch was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory. He had apparently been recommended for the honour by Cardinal Roger Mahony, after giving money to a Church education fund. A year later he donated $10 million to help build Los Angeles Catholic cathedral.
Is it right that papal knighthoods should be awarded in this way? The honour is supposed to recognise a person’s service to the Church. Certainly, Murdoch’s money has helped the Church; but surely there are many, many faithful Catholics, whose tireless service to the Church goes unacknowledged, who deserve to be honoured much more.
And is Rupert Murdoch a person the Church should celebrate? He owns – or did own – a newspaper that lost its moral bearings; he ought to bear some responsibility for that.
On the other hand, rescinding his papal knighthood might be difficult to justify. Other papal knights may also have flaws. Where do you set the bar?
So, should Rupert Murdoch’s papal knighthood be rescinded? Or is it fair to honour someone who has helped the Church financially?