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Compiled by Steve Jalsevac
Note: Because of the great importance of this situation we are presenting this broad list of reports to help leaders and regular LSN readers better understand what is occurring. This crucial issue demands wide reading in order to avoid being drawn into the various agendas at work and to develop an informed and ethical response. We strongly encourage you to take the time to at least scan the excerpted quotes. Many of these articles are exceptional, while others are questionably fair, if not unethical reporting, but are included to illustrate the different responses to the issue.
The Pope and the New York Times - Wall Streeet Journal
A few years later, when the CDF assumed authority over all abuse cases, Cardinal Ratzinger implemented changes that allowed for direct administrative action instead of trials that often took years. Roughly 60% of priests accused of sexual abuse were handled this way. The man who is now pope reopened cases that had been closed; did more than anyone to process cases and hold abusers accountable; and became the first pope to meet with victims. Isn't the more reasonable interpretation of all these events that Cardinal Ratzinger's experience with cases like Murphy's helped lead him to promote reforms that gave the church more effective tools for handling priestly abuse?
Former NY Mayor Ed Koch Says 'Enough Already' with Anti-Catholicism in Media
Many of those in the media who are pounding on the Church and the pope today clearly do it with delight, and some with malice. The reason, I believe, for the constant assaults is that there are many in the media, and some Catholics as well as many in the public, who object to and are incensed by positions the Church holds, including opposition to all abortions, opposition to gay sex and same-sex marriage, retention of celibacy rules for priests, exclusion of women from the clergy, opposition to birth control measures involving condoms and prescription drugs and opposition to civil divorce.
The Pope and the press - Fr. Raymond DeSouza
The New York Times was guilty of egregiously shoddy reporting—or worse—on a story of global implications.
On March 23, the annual independent audit of American dioceses revealed that in 2009, there were six credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors, in a church of 68 million people—a sign of astonishing progress in stamping out this evil. That was the news before The New York Times decided to make its own.
Why Attack the Pope? by Richard Bastien
The media are going for the jugular because they now understand that the Catholic Church will never water down its sexual morality, and that the only way to neutralize its moral influence is to discredit its highest authority. Where mockery will not do the trick, try defamation and distortion.
On Sexual Abuse Scandal, the Pope Gets a Bad Rap - Washington Post
By any human standard, Pope Benedict XVI and the American Catholic Church are getting a bad rap in the current outbreak of outrage over clerical sexual abuse. "Benedict," says the Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University, "grew in his understanding of the crisis. Like many other bishops at the beginning, he didn't understand it. . . . But he grew in his understanding because he listened to what the U.S. bishops had to say. He in fact got it quicker than other people in the Vatican."
The Catholic-Bashing Telephone Game - Carl Olson, Ignatius Press
Someone needs their hearing checked. The AP's headline and story are accurate in its details. But it's obvious—even if the Towleroad headline is something of an extreme example (I'm not so sure it is…)—that some folks will use anything to bash the Catholic Church. The Towleroad sets some sort of dubious record in getting three things wrong in an eight-word headline: 1) it was not the "Vatican" who made the statement; 2) the reference was not to "Catholic Priest Pedophiles"; and 3) there was no reference to the Holocaust or Holocaust victims.
The New York Times has seriously screwed up its coverage of the Pope and the child abuse scandals
Time For Some Fair and Balanced Reporting on Clerical Sexual Abuse - Fr. Z
Ideology Trumping Information in Media Coverage of Abuse, Italian Editor Charges
The Catholic Church is "not a modern republic" pointed out Giuliano Ferrara, director of the political Italian daily Il Foglio, in an editorial on Friday. He argued that the conflict in the media today between offering information and promoting a secular ideology—with ideology winning out—is behind the coverage of the sex abuse sandals.
Catholics may just have to sit out this anti-Papal media frenzy - Telegraph
The Frustratingly Poor Quality of Press Coverage - Michael Sean Winters, America
It is the job of religion reporters to not only report on information but to provide the context for interpreting that information. The documents in the Oakland case raise certain obvious questions that the press ignores or fails to perceive – I do not know which is worse. I do not "blame" the media for the sex abuse crisis and I do blame the Vatican for doing such a horrendous job of answering the current questions and for seeing themselves as the victim. Nonetheless, I believe the press corps is guilty of shoddy reporting. The documents in the Oakland case are no "smoking gun" but they are presented as such.
Catholic League Responds Again
Every news story and commentary stating that the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is widening is factually wrong. The evidence shows just the opposite—it has been contracting for approximately a quarter century.
There is no other religious or secular institution being cherry-picked by lawyers and the media like that of the Catholic Church. If what happened in the 1950s qualifies as news when it happened in the Catholic Church, then surely it would be news to learn of all those who were abused a half-century ago by ministers, rabbis, school teachers and others. But it will never happen—such news fails to make the media salivate.
Italian Political Paper: NY Times Needs Consultants More Than Vatican Does
The influential Italian political newspaper Il Foglio published an article today criticizing the New York Times for relying on a computer-generated translation from Italian to English of important responses from the Vatican to a sex abuse case. “Behind the accusations,” says Il Foglio’s senior writer Paolo Rodari, “there is a gross translation mistake.”
The Real Scandal and the Real Story by Carl Olson, Ignatius Insight
Equally bothersome have been comments from some normally reasonable pundits (some of them Catholic) who have said, in essence, "Well, Catholics really shouldn't be upset. They should resist the impulse to respond. After all, the media has done the dirty work of exposing the abuse and cover-ups." This is ridiculous. Let's say my neighbor alerts me to the fact that my teenage son has been committing acts of vandalism and provides proof thereof. Does it give him the right to then, a year later, accuse my wife of being a prostitute when he has no evidence and it's clear he dislikes her?
It used to be that most reporters worked to break a story, to find the truth, and to shed light on the shadows. But now more and more reporters work to stage a story, to fudge the truth, and to create shadows by obscuring the light. The scandal is the complete collapse of journalistic standards in the handling of this story. The real scandal, in other words, is the slander. Just don't expect it see it on the front page of many newspapers.
How Much Did the Pope Know? - MacLeans magazine
Benedict faces tough questions about the Church’s sex abuse scandal
THE UNMENTIONED HOMOSEXUAL ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
The Curious Incident at the New York Times
The word "homosexual" does not appear a single time in all the articles the Times has run since the story first broke.
Here are four possible interpretations of the Times's curious omission of Hullermann's homosexuality.
One, that the Times reporter didn't know that Hullermann was a homosexual—and wasn't curious enough to find out. Two, the editors of the Times assumed all its readers would assume Hullermann was a homosexual. Three, the people at the New York Times thought the fact irrelevant. And four, the people at the Times are in thrall to the homosexual community and didn't want to disparage it.
One and two are implausible Three is absurd: Leaving the fourth reason: the Times made a choice to speak no ill of homosexuals. The pedophilia story really begins more than forty years ago, when the Roman Catholic Church began accepting known homosexuals into the priesthood. Are most child molesters in the Catholic Church homosexuals? Almost certainly. But try finding that story in the New York Times.
The Times seems to be more interested in protecting its friends in the homosexual community than the youngsters in churches. One part of the "crisis" in the Roman Catholic Church is probably over. Abuses have declined since 1980, and the church has stopped letting known homosexuals into the priesthood.
Vatican Attacked Over Cardinal's Claim of Homosexuality and Paedophilia Link
In apparent embarrassment, the Holy See's official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, did not mention Bertone's remarks in its report on the press conference. Five years ago the Vatican implicitly linked homosexuality and paedophilia when, following the child abuse scandals in the US, it banned men from studying for the priesthood if they "showed deeply rooted homosexual tendencies".
Gay Cover Up Must End re: Priestly Sexual Abuse - Bill Donohue
Anti-Catholicism and the Times - Patrick Buchanan
As the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue relates, 80 percent of the victims of priestly abuse have been males and “most of the molesters gays.” And as the Times’ Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 10 years ago, often, “three-quarters of the people deciding what’s on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals.” Is there perhaps a conflict of interest at The New York Times, when covering a traditionalist Catholic pope?
Expert: Donohue's claim that most abusive priests are gay is "unwarranted"
The Passion of Pope Benedict. Six Accusations, One Question by Sandro Magister
Pedophilia is only the latest weapon aimed against Joseph Ratzinger. And each time, he is attacked where he most exercises his leadership role. One by one, the critical points of this pontificate
U.S. Lawyer Takes on Vatican Over Abuse Cases
He shared documents with New York Times, sees Ore. lawsuit as critical. He claims to have no idea how much he has won in settlements; in 2002 he estimated that it was around $60 million.
"It's not about the money," Anderson told The Associated Press.
Another Long Lent by George Weigel
2010 is not 2002, and that is in large measure due to 2002. What we now have is, largely, the recycling of old material, usually provided to the press by contingent-fee attorneys whose strategic goal is to build a public “narrative” of conspiracy that will shape American courts’ decisions as to whether the Vatican and its resources can be brought within range of U.S. liability law.
The realization among serious Catholics that this is not 2002 and that things have changed dramatically since 2002, has led to a far more confident effort to fight back against misrepresentations such as those the Times perpetrated on March 25. There is a danger here: to recognize that this is not 2002 cannot blind us to the fact that there are wounds that remain to be healed, reforms of priestly formation that remain to be completed, bishops whose failures remain to be recognized and dealt with, new norms for the selection of bishops to be implemented, and accounts rendered as to why the Vatican, prior to Ratzinger’s taking control of the issue of clerical sexual abuse in the late 1990s, was sometimes sluggish in its response to scandalous behavior by priests and deficient leadership by bishops.
Assuming, however, that Benedict XVI has set in motion processes that will lead to all those lingering issues being forcefully addressed, a serious question can now be credibly posed: Are those most vigorously agitating these abuse/misgovernance issues today genuinely interested in the safety of young people and children, or are they using the failures of the past to cripple the moral credibility of the Catholic Church in the present and future?
There is no harm in acknowledging that, like just about everyone else, Joseph Ratzinger was on a learning curve in dealing with abusive clergy and malfeasant bishops; the point to be stressed, however, is that he learned faster, and acted more decisively on what he had learned, than just about anyone else.
...the Holy See must make unmistakably clear that it is serious about dealing with malfeasant bishops: that, in addition to swift action against abusive priests, the Church is prepared to take swift and decisive action against episcopal misgovernance.
Church Gets an Unfair Rap By George Weigel
Pope has been at forefront of change
What Went Wrong By George Weigel
The Catholic Abuse Scandal - Rush Limbaugh
What really is going on here is that the forces of the left are in the process of trying to tear down and destroy every institution in America that stands for something other than big government, other than liberal Democrats. The Catholic Church is despised by the left because of its abortion stance. It is despised because it is a religion other than the earth. It is a religion other than liberalism. So they're full-court press in trying to discredit the church. It could be a dual-edged sword for these people trying to destroy the church.
Pope is on the Case and Has Been, in Fact By Philip F. Lawler in USA Today
"Strike the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered." The Bible's Book of Zechariah (13:7) warns how cynics will respond to a prophetic leader. The same unhappy pattern is visible in the recent news media attacks against Pope Benedict XVI.
But no disciplinary system will work if the responsible officials do not enforce the rules. The canon law that governs the Catholic Church provided ample authority for diocesan bishops to discipline predatory priests in the 1970s and 1980s; the bishops chose not to use that authority.
In 1995, long before the scandal emerged in the headlines, Cardinal Ratzinger pushed for a full investigation of accusations against a powerful Austrian cardinal, ultimately leading to his resignation. Anyone who weighs the facts carefully and objectively will conclude that Benedict XVI is part of the solution — that is, if the goal is to reform the Catholic Church, not to destroy it.
Hatred of the Church? On Scandals, Sinners, and Stones Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.
We look at our modern day accusers. We look at what they hold. They have few if any problems with all sorts of human disorders which they have now made to be "human rights." The one classical thing that they still hold is that child abuse is wrong. But it is mainly wrong because no "consent" is involved. The same activities of those "of age" are deemed acceptable.
The Lessons of the Scandal: Hypocrisy and Discipline - Dr. Jeff Mirus
The prolonged and unremitting secular attack on the Catholic Church for a sexual abuse problem overwhelmingly in the past, the confiscation of the ecclesiastical wealth of the Catholic people (who, in general, have no guilt in this matter), the changing of statutes of limitations to permit vast financial settlements in cases where the perpetrators are long dead, and the effort to implicate the Pope in the complete absence of evidence: All of this, even in those cases where justice is served, is a monumental hypocrisy. What we have here, in essence, is people who favor sexual licentiousness, and who hate the Catholic Church because of its very condemnation of sexual licentiousness, exploiting one of the last remaining sexual taboos to discredit and break the Church.
The moral lesson is that there must be zero tolerance for other forms of abuse among the Church’s ministers as well, particularly the abuse of any of the rights of the faithful to the goods the Church offers for their salvation. The failure to discipline priests and bishops in their dispensation of the Church’s sacraments, her teachings, her grace and her inner life have all contributed to this disaster, and have wrought far too many other disasters besides, many of equal or greater magnitude. One of the great benefits to the Church of the sex abuse scandal is that the free pass has been withdrawn in this one area. But the greatest lesson of the crisis is the need for a proper and edifying discipline across the board.
Pope Should Apologize and Explain
Many Catholics imply that Benedict has nothing to apologize for at all. I don’t buy this. Certainly he should apologize for not preventing the Rev. Peter Hullerman from defiling children again after he left therapy. He was Hullerman's archbishop, after all. He had some responsibility for the wayward priests’ conduct. Ratzinger’s lack of knowledge doesn’t mean the buck didn’t stop with him.
Bill O'Reilly says Cardinal Bernard Law should be in jail for pedophile cover up
Broad Criticism of Pope Benedict's Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal
Only about one-in-ten (12%) say the pope has done an excellent (3%) or good job (9%) in addressing the sex abuse scandal; 71% say he has done a poor (44%) or only fair (27%) job.
Catholic bishop says sex abuse scandals will cause ‘generations of damage’ - TImes on line
And so the relentless attempts to 'get' Pope Benedict XVI continue… - Telegraph
Mean Men - Newsweek
The priesthood is being cast as the refuge of pederasts. In fact, priests seem to abuse children at the same rate as everyone else. ...the John Jay study found that 149 priests were responsible for more than 25,000 cases of abuse over the 52-year period studied.
Vatican rebuffs claim Pope blocked Fr. Maciel investigation - CNA
Vatican, Canadian church officials tried to keep sex scandal secret - Globe and Mail
The Vatican prepares new measures to combat sex abuse
Archbishop Weakland Halted Ecclesial Trial of Notorious Priest
The Milwaukee priest who strongly criticized The New York Times for its reporting on the scandal surrounding the late Father Lawrence Murphy has apologized for failing to recall that Archbishop Rembert Weakland ordered Father Murphy’s trial halted.
Former Vatican No. 2 becomes unlikely cheerleader
Abuse Crisis Strains Vatican’s Ancient Ways of Management - NY Times
A "radical humanist" and atheist defends the Pope and the Church
His conclusion is, I think, quite excellent: "Whatever you think of the Catholic Church, you should be concerned about today’s abuse-obsession. Events of the (sometimes distant) past which nobody can change are being used to justify dangerous trends in the present."
Russian Newspaper Pravda Defends Pope, Blames New World Oligarchy
Swiss Roman Catholic bishops apologise over abuse
Catholic church sex scandal rocks faithful in Brazil
Africa also suffers sex abuse by priests: bishop