A MEDIA LITERACY VIEW OF CHURCH SEX ABUSE SCANDAL NEWS REPORTING
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The Wall Street Journal also has an op-ed piece today about lawyer Jeffrey Anderson's
involvement. http://www.bridgeportdiocese.com/talk.3.31.2010.shtml

The Holy Father That I Know

by the Most Reverend William E. Lori, S.T.D., Diocese of Bridgeport, CT
March 31, 2010

It is Holy Week, that time out of time, when we remember the most
important events of all time: Jesus' suffering, His crucifixion, and
His conquest of death. The world, of course, is filled with
distractions. In this holy season some, especially the news media,
want us to focus instead on the supposed failures of our Pope,
Benedict XVI. The New York Times is again leading the attack, now
accusing the Holy Father himself of being complicit in "the widening
sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church." I want to share with you my
reflections about this subject.

It appears that the timing of these articles is calculated. The March
25 New York Times story suggesting that then-Cardinal Ratzinger
permitted a known offender to continue in ministry for almost thirty
years was based upon documents provided to it by Jeffrey Anderson, an
attorney who has received over $100 million suing Catholic
institutions and who is now suing the Vatican itself. Mr. Anderson
received these documents in discovery in December 2008. Why did he
wait until now to hand them over to the Times? Was it to help his suit
against the Vatican? Was it to coordinate with claimant groups
protesting in the Vatican on the very day of the Times report? Was it
to promote legislation friendly to plaintiffs' lawyers such as we are
fighting here in Connecticut and elsewhere? Was it to sully the
holiness of this week? We don't know. We do know that Mr. Anderson
controlled the timing, and the Times helped.

The truth is that there is no widening problem of child sexual abuse
in the Catholic Church, at least not in our country. A comprehensive
"Causes and Contents" study conducted by the John Jay College of
Criminal Justice showed that, by the early 90s, this problem was
largely corrected because many bishops already had in place safe
environment programs and zero tolerance policies. In 2002 the U.S.
bishops took additional steps to reach out to victims and to ensure
the safety of children and young people by issuing their landmark
Charter and Norms. For our Church serving almost 70 million American
Catholics, there were six allegations of childhood sexual abuse by
priests occurring in 2009. No other institution working with children
gets close to this level of safe environment.

Let us now focus on the stories in the New York Times regarding
Reverend Lawrence C. Murphy, the deceased Milwaukee priest who was
accused of molesting young people during the 1960s and 70s when he
headed a school for the hearing and sight impaired. To be sure, his
heinous behavior was utterly reprehensible and destructive. At the
same time, however, the Times' story incorrectly reports that Cardinal
Ratzinger was complicit when, "instead of discipline," Father Lawrence
Murphy was "quietly moved" to the Diocese of Superior where he
continued "working freely with children in parishes" for twenty-four
years until he died in 1998. The police looked into the allegations
regarding Father Murphy in 1974 and apparently found insufficient
evidence to take any action. Nevertheless, Murphy lost his job as head
of the school for the hearing and sight impaired in 1974. The
documents the Times itself posts show that his removal was not "quiet"
but that the police were informed, that there were protests and
leafleteering, and that there was "disclosure and public humiliation
in 1974."

Finally, the Times states that Murphy was "never disciplined." This
simply is not so. The Times does not tell its readers that, shortly
after new allegations came his way in 1993, Archbishop Weakland
promptly suspended Murphy's faculties and ordered him to cease all
public ministry, all unsupervised contact with children, and all
contact with persons, places, and situations giving rise to
temptations. The Times either hid the fact that Murphy was disciplined
by suspension of his faculties because it did not comport with the
story it wanted to tell, or because Mr. Anderson withheld the
documents from the Times that detailed this discipline.

In fact, if the New York Times had bothered to check with Father
Thomas Brundage, JCL, the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of
Milwaukee from 1995-2003, they would have been found that at the time
of his death, Father Murphy was still a defendant in a Canonical trial
(an internal trial conducted by the Church) in Milwaukee for the
crimes of sexual abuse and solicitation within the confessional. Thus,
the New York Times either was less than forthcoming in stating that
Murphy suffered no discipline, or Mr. Anderson, through selective
document disclosures, played the New York Times like a fiddle. The
shameless and reckless assertions by the Times and other media outlets
that then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, somehow
interfered with the trial by the church are categorically false. Fr.
Brundage, who was the presiding judge of the Canonical trial, says
unequivocally "with regard to the role of then Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in this matter, I have no reason to
believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his
doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information."

Here's what I know about Pope Benedict XVI and sexual abuse. As
detailed by John Allen of The National Catholic Reporter, when
Cardinal Ratzinger became the Vatican's "point man" on the problem in
2001, he personally reviewed hundreds of files. He then wrote the
bishops of the world that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith would henceforth handle all sexual abuses cases involving
priests. Under his leadership the Congregation provided bishops with
crucial direction and support in canonically removing offending
priests from ministry. In most circumstances, the Congregation
approved direct administrative actions so that bishops could
discipline and remove priests without the delays of full canonical
trials.

In 2002, I assisted in writing the Charter and Norms for the
Protection of Children and Young People. I was also one of the four
U.S. diocesan bishops who went to Rome to secure approval of the
Norms. I personally witnessed the pivotal and positive role that
Cardinal Ratzinger played in helping the American bishops to respond
to the sexual abuse crisis. Thanks to Cardinal Ratzinger the United
States Norms won approval from the Holy See. Together with the Charter
for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Norms have helped
the U.S. Bishops to bring about a true culture change in the Church.
State of the art safe environment programs have been developed.
Countless victims have been assisted. Priests who posed a danger to
young people are out of ministry. Dioceses cooperate closely with law
enforcement officials (contrary to yet another faulty op-ed piece in
the New York Times). The Congregation also helped bishops of other
countries deal with the sexual abuse crisis. When he became Pope,
Benedict XVI made resolution of the abuse problem a priority. Instead
of attacking this Pope, we should be thanking him for helping the
Church confront this crisis in a way that benefits victims, the
Church, and society.

There is an additional problem with the New York Times report worth
mentioning. It states that Father Murphy "also got a pass from the
police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims." This
clause is the entire comment that the Times gives to the failure of
the one government entity that had the greatest power to conduct an
investigation and remove an alleged sexual perpetrator from being
around children. The Church has no search warrants or prisons. The
police do. When government fails to manage the risk of sexual abuse,
the New York Times and other media too often give government a pass.
If we really care about protecting children, then the fourth estate
needs to focus its spotlight on those institutions with the greatest
problems. In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice
reported that one out of ten young people incarcerated in
government-run detention facilities were sexually victimized by their
guards during the single year of 2008. This represents 2,370 victims.
Where was the Times report? And the number of sexual abuse victims in
public schools dwarfs the problem in juvenile detention facilities.

The Times sued our Diocese to acquire privileged documents from court
files so that it could re-publish stories of long settled sexual abuse
cases that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet it ignores that
since 1992 in Connecticut alone, 112 Connecticut public school
teachers and coaches have lost their license to teach because of
sexual contact with students; and since 2006, 19 foster parents paid
by the State of Connecticut have been disciplined for sexually abusing
the children in their care. Where's the outrage and the calls for
resignations? Having the Pope and the Catholic Church bear the entire
blame of childhood sexual abuse may benefit the trial lawyers and
serve the agenda of their media partners, but it does nothing to
protect children today. Transferring billions from Catholic dioceses,
religious orders, and their charitable and educational ministries in a
time of economic crisis only creates new victims. It is time that
Church-bashing give way to responsible reporting and even-handed
public policy.
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#2
Amen ----
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#3
Thanks so much for posting this. It really does provide a helpful perspective on the situation.
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#4
Something else to note about recent articlesw in the New York Times: in reporting on outrageaous and atrocious conduct of the Westboro baptist cult they referred to it simply as "the Church" several times, which is insinuating the identity of the Catholic Church (the only denomination normally referred to with the capital "C" "Church" word standing alone that way)  although of course if you are reading the whloe article you know it is talking about that crazy cult attacking the West Virginia miners funerals this week. 

The New York Times is definitely engaging in a wide range of continuous, subtle, and deliberate subliminal propaganda specifically against the Catholic Church and not just against conservative religious beliefs in general, even to the point of inserting such weird minor symbols in unrelated stories.

This brings to mind that the Kennedies pulled away from Hillary Clinton in favor of Obama to tip the election (Boston/Chicago mafias lining up against Manhattan mafias?) and now I'm wondering if the NYT is carrying out a kind of civil war that has nothing at all to do with Christianity/Catholicism and everything to do with a kind of tribal/territorial/ethnic warfare.   

To attack Rome is to attack Chicago and Boston via that overwhelming Catholic population even if most have not been to Mass in 20 years.
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#5
Isn't there some rule about not using all caps in thread titles?  ::)
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#6
At last someone's taking an incompetent and opportunistic Attorney from Minnesota to task for being part of an overall compaign to discredit and attack the Church.
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#7
This part is worth copy-pasting into every board on the internet. It is about three-quarters of the way down thsat article, so some people might have missed it:

Quote:There is an additional problem with the New York Times report worth
mentioning. It states that Father Murphy "also got a pass from the
police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims." This
clause is the entire comment that the Times gives to the failure of
the one government entity that had the greatest power to conduct an
investigation and remove an alleged sexual perpetrator from being
around children.

The Church has no search warrants or prisons. The
police do.
When government fails to manage the risk of sexual abuse,
the New York Times and other media too often give government a pass.
If we really care about protecting children, then the fourth estate
needs to focus its spotlight on those institutions with the greatest
problems.

In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice
reported that one out of ten young people incarcerated in
government-run detention facilities were sexually victimized by their
guards during the single year of 2008. This represents 2,370 victims.
Where was the Times report? And the number of sexual abuse victims in
public schools dwarfs the problem in juvenile detention facilities.
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#8
I have a 'fallen away' cousin who is very frustrating to try to talk to in defense of the Church and The Faith.  His problem is that he won't listen to anything coming from a Catholic source because, to him, it is biased.  ::)  I don't know how to make him see the flaw in that logic.  ???

Anyway, I found an interesting defense of The Church written by the former mayor of NY and Jew, Ed Koch that was published in the Jerusalem Post.  I think he tips his hand as to his intent to absolve Jews of any culpability in the second to last paragraph (or he does so to cover his backside in the event of any backlash).  Ironically, he quotes the New Testament, albeit a PC-sanitized version.

link to source - http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/koch/entry/h...ithout_sin

Quote: Thursday Apr 08, 2010
Koch's Comments: He that is without sin, let him cast the next stone - enough already

I believe the continuing attacks by the media on the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have become manifestations of anti-Catholicism. The procession of articles on the same events are, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate.

The sexual molestation of children, principally boys, is horrendous. This is agreed to by everyone, Catholics, the Church itself, as well as non-Catholics and the media. The pope has on a number of occasions on behalf of the Church admitted fault and asked for forgiveness. For example, The New York Times reported on April 18, 2008, that the pope "came face to face with a scandal that has left lasting wounds on the American church Thursday, holding a surprise meeting with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area.... 'No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,' the Pope said in his homily. 'It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.'"

On March 20, 2010, the Times reported that in his eight page pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, the pope wrote, "You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry ... Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."
The pope also "criticized Ireland's bishops for 'grave errors of judgment and failures of leadership.'"

The primary explanation for the abuse that happened - not to excuse the retention of priests in positions that enabled them to continue to harm children - was the belief that the priests could be cured by psychotherapy, a theory now long discarded by the medical profession. Regrettably, it is also likely that years ago the abuse of children was not taken as seriously as today. Thank God we've progressed on that issue.

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. My good friend, John Cardinal O'Connor, once said, "The Church is not a salad bar, from which to pick and choose what pleases you." The Church has the right to demand fulfillment of all of its religious obligations by its parishioners, and indeed a right to espouse its beliefs generally.

I disagree with the Church on all of these positions. Nevertheless, it has a right to hold these views in accordance with its religious beliefs. I disagree with many tenets of Orthodox Judaism - the religion of my birth - and have chosen to follow the tenets of Conservative Judaism, while I attend an Orthodox synagogue.  Orthodox Jews, like the Roman Catholic Church, can demand absolute obedience to religious rules. Those declining to adhere are free to leave.

I believe the Roman Catholic Church is a force for good in the world, not evil. Moreover, the existence of one billion, 130 million Catholics worldwide is important to the peace and prosperity of the planet.

Of course, the media should report to the public any new facts bearing upon the issue of child molestation, but its objectivity and credibility are damaged when the New York Times declines to publish an op-ed offered by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the issue of anti-Catholicism and offers instead to publish a letter to the editor, which is much shorter and less prominent than an op-ed.

I am appalled that, according to the Times of April 6, 2010, "Last week, the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica wrote, without attribution that 'certain Catholic circles' believed the criticism of the Church stemmed from 'a New York Jewish lobby.'" The pope should know that some of his fellow priests can be thoughtless or worse in their efforts to help him. If the "certain Catholic circles" were referring to the Times, the Pope should know that the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., is Episcopalian, having taken the religion of his mother, and its executive editor, Bill Keller, is also a Christian.

Enough is enough. Yes, terrible acts were committed by members of the Catholic clergy. The Church has paid billions to victims in the US and will pay millions, perhaps billions, more to other such victims around the world.  It is trying desperately to atone for its past by its admissions and changes in procedures for dealing with pedophile priests. I will close with a paraphrase of the words of Jesus as set forth in John 8:7: He [or she] that is without sin among you, let him [or her] cast the next stone.
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#9
I don't think Mr. Koch is trying to protect Jews in that second-to-last paragraph, I think he is pointing out a very important fact: the key role of an Episcopalean who happens to have a Jewish surname.  The EPISCOPALEANS are the absolute leaders of filth in the entire recent twenty-years or more of churches collapsing into gay social clubs, and they frequently have been very active enemies of Catholics, gleefully tearing apart working class organizations that challenged WASP hegemony in the last century.

I don't turn a blind eye to Jewish anti-catholicism when I encounter it, but I think we need to respect that Ed Koch is doing the right thing and speaking up with a very important voice to point out a significant fact about the anti-Catholic cabal being connected to an extremely elitist bunch of blue-bloods. Jews and Catholics as working class people have been on the same side of the barricades when it comes to WASP America, after all. We mustn't forget that. 
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#10
Interesting insight on the Episcopaleans of which I was not aware.  Perhaps I misjudged his intent.  Maybe not.

Either way, I do respect Mr. Koch for speaking out as he has done and think the Church should be grateful for his courage to do so.
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