The most shocking concept, after the idea of abusing children at all, is the idea of USING child abuse for a political agenda, instead of focusing on the identification and elimination of child abuse. This is what the liberal media has been doing, using forged documents and misrepresentations (http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1817), particularly during Holy Week and Easter 2010, to misrepresent the Catholic Church. In Madison, Wisonsin’s Wisconsin State Journal and Cap Times alone, over 30 articles referring to the Church sexual abuse scandals have been published in the last couple of weeks.
The Catholic Church HAS been guilty of having members who abuse children, and members who cover up the abusive situations.
However, the Catholic Church had the LOWEST societal frequency of offence in this area (Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis, Oxford University Press, Professor Philip Jenkins), the lowest frequency of cover-up, the Church has been the first institution to admit publicly to the problem, and the Church has apologized for previous offenders. The Catholic Church has also rapidly developed comprehensive new policies to prevent further possibility of abuse (http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-052.shtml). Pope Benedict has been at the forefront of these reforms, and has never participated in any abuse or cover ups.
Sadly, our whole society is plagued by sexual child abuse, and even our educators offend in this area much more frequently than Catholic priests do (http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/4/5/01552.shtml, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21392345/, http://www.archny.org/media/archbishops-blog/Sexual_Misconduct_Report.pdf). Married men are the biggest offenders, while celibate priests are the least offenders (Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis, Oxford University Press, Professor Philip Jenkins).
Yet, the media seems to specialize in misrepresenting and twisting the facts in such a way that the Catholic Church would appear to be the primary offender. By reporting almost exclusively on abuses committed by priests, the media conveys the impression that the Catholic Church is the primary child sex abuse offender, rather than the LEAST frequent offender.
The first recent attack on the Pope involving Milwaukee was based on a forged document, and had to be retracted entirely. The NY Times, NBC and 100 other publications/online news sources ALL failed to verify the authenticity of a hand-written document laying accusations at the foot of Pope Benedict ( http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1817). This lack of journalistic thoroughness betrays a willful alternate agenda.
The next Holy Week attack criticized the Pope’s slowness to defrock a priest who had already confessed, who had already been stripped of his job, and who was subject to legal action. There was no cover-up (he had confessed), the Church took away his job, and the Church made no attempt to block the legal processing of this crime. For the media to demand the defrocking of this priest is equivalent to revoking educational or marital status for non-clerical child abusers—revoking a Ph.D., or revoking a marriage certificate. The civil authorities do not do revoke these titles for child abusers, so why would the media expect this step to be taken by the Church? Are they not also aware that the “defrocking” of a priest removes him from the supervision of his bishop and sets him free on society?
The media has more recently delighted in their ability to locate 30 Catholic priests in the whole U.S. during the last century, who still continued to exist, either in the same, or at different locations, after abusing children. The AP tried to generalize and to accuse the Church of willful relocation of priests after abuse. Some of the priests in question were never convicted, and continued to proclaim their innocence. Some were dismissed from the priesthood and moved away on their own, after the Church had no remaining authority over them. A few were actually reassigned by the Church to work in a new location – at a time when both civil and church authorities believed that rehabilitation of child abusers was possible. The media cannot attack the Pope for using policies 25 years ago which were universally used by all, including civil authorities world-wide. In the 1960s and 1970s, therapists generally theorized that sexual abuse was treatable. (Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis, Oxford University Press, Professor Philip Jenkins.)
The media making these accusations against the Catholic Church also neglect to mention that today, just in our small town of Madison, there are over 300 child sex abusers living and roaming free (http://www.familywatchdog.us/Search.asp). Click figure to enlarge. Each of the ~300 red squares on this map of Madison represents the home of a registered child sex offender. Nobody has a mechanism for getting rid of these people—not the City of Madison, not the Catholic Church. They have to go somewhere, we cannot vaporize them. Whether they stay or relocate is not within our rights to determine. Once they face legal action, our entire legal system is based on forgiveness and rehabilitation. How can we criticize the Catholic Church for leaving 30 offenders loose in the U.S. throughout a century, when Madison alone has 300 of them loose today?
In actual fact, children have always been, and continue to be, safer in the hands of the Catholic Church than they are in any other place, including public school, on the streets of Madison, or even in their own homes.
WHY would the media focus on attacking the Catholic Church, rather than exposing the largest offenders and pursuing the development of policies to protect children at the locations where children are at greatest risk?
It’s pretty clear in 2010 that we are in the midst of a heated cultural struggle between conservatives (trying to maintain age-old Judeo-Christian ethical standards protecting life, marriage and family), and liberals (attempting to redefine all of those standards – redefine life at beginning and end, redefine marriage, and redefine family).
The loudest, clearest, most organized and most powerful voice in opposition to this agenda of liberalization has been the Catholic Church. The Pope, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as Madison’s Bishop Morlino, have been at the forefront of opposition to the liberalization agenda. No other voice is as large (representing 1 billion), as organized (globally), or as courageously outspoken as the Catholic Church has been.
Why, then, is it any surprise, that the liberal media has launched a campaign to misrepresent the Pope and the Catholic Church? If they succeed in eroding the Church’s reputation as a respected moral authority, they will succeed in silencing the most powerful global opposition to the liberalization agenda existing today.
It is unfortunate that we lack principled journalists who have the integrity and courage to expose the double standard that has been applied in attacking the Catholic Church in this culture war.
There was a similar lack of courage during Holy Week, over 2,000 years ago.
It is very shocking, indeed, that the media– instead of reporting accurately, zeroing in on the problem and on solutions — that instead, the media abuses children further, by ignoring their plight, by misrepresenting the problem, and by using abused children in the war against conservative values.
There is a very tragic irony in the global campaign to spread abortion, when liberals energetically accuse the world’s least offenders of child abuse (Catholic priests), while themselves militantly advocating the ultimate child abuse — death before birth, painful, excruciating dismemberment in one’s mother’s womb.