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By Hilary White

LONDON, October 3, 2006 ( – News sources around the world are featuring headlines today such as “Pope linked to child abuse cover-up” and “Pope protects pedophile clerics” after this weekend’s airing of a BBC film claiming that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was personally complicit in a massive cover-up of the abuse of children by homosexual and pedophile priests.

The BBC has come under severe criticism for its Panorama program which relied exclusively on the interpretation of the evidence of two men, Colm O’Gorman, a crusader on sexual abuse by priests, and Fr. Tom Doyle, an American priest well known for his voluble dissent from Catholic teaching.

In a letter of protest to the BBC, England’s Catholic primate, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, said the BBC’s program deliberately tried “to inflict grave damage” on the Pope.

“It is quite clear to me that the main focus of the program is to seek to connect Benedict XVI with cover-up of child abuse in the Catholic Church. This is malicious and untrue and based on a false presentation of Church documents,” the Cardinal said.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said he could not understand why the BBC made no attempt to allow the Church a response to Doyle’s and O’Gorman’s accusations.

“I must ask if within the BBC there is a persistent bias against the Catholic Church. There will be many, not only Catholics, who will wonder if the BBC is any longer willing to be truly objective in some of its presentations,” he said.

Beginning and ending with lurid videos of convicted pedophile former priests outlining their crimes and emotional interviews with victims and their families, the program focused on claims made by Doyle that two documents issued by the Vatican constituted a plot by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to cover up crimes by priests.

Colm O’Gorman is the founder and director of One in Four, an Irish organization that supports victims of sex abuse but which also has openly anti-Catholic and and “liberal” biases. O’Gorman, who was himself abused as a teenager, was responsible for exposing the complicity of Irish bishops in the homosexal abuse scandals in that country. His case against the Catholic bishop and diocese of Ferns was settled in 2003 with an admission of negligence and payment of damages.

Doyle is well known in the US as an unapologetic opponent of Catholic teaching, and is a leader among those US dissident Catholics who have used the homosexual abuse scandal to further their decades-long campaign against the Church. Doyle is a favorite with left-leaning publications in the US and Canada including the Boston Globe, the Catholic New Times and the National Catholic Reporter.

In 2002, Doyle was honoured at a meeting of Voice of the Faithful in Boston where he said that the sex abuse crisis is “the beginning death throes of the medieval, monarchical model that was based on the belief that a small, select minority of the educated, privileged, and power-invested was called forth by God to manage the temporal and spiritual lives of the faceless masses.”
  This is not the first time the BBC has come under fire from Catholics for their anti-Catholic biases. Three years ago, the BBC produced another Panorama program, titled, “Sex and the Holy City,” that Archbishop Nichols called an example of the BBC’s “hostility” to the Church.

At that time, after meetings with BBC officials, Nichols said, “I was able to express the deep disquiet felt by so many Catholics and others at some aspects of BBC programmes with regard to religious belief in general and the Catholic Church in particular.” Nichols said then that he was assured the BBC had given his concerns “due consideration”.ÂÂÂ

Read previous coverage:
  BBC Takes “Sensational, Misleading” Shot at Pope Benedict