It would re-set the roiling controversy surrounding the Church considerably if those who have been attacking its handling of the abuse crisis would admit they have strong anti-Church sentiments to begin with, and then get on with a passionate debate about it all.
At bottom (literally), New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan makes that point in his latest blog post on the whole affair.
Last week I asked for some fairness in the seemingly unappeasable criticism of the Church over the catastrophe of clergy sexual abuse.
Not to my surprise, if anything, it has only gotten worse, especially in the interminable headlines about the Pope himself.
Last fall I wrote in this blog about anti-Catholicism in the New York Times and other media, providing a list of contemporary examples. A few tried to slap me back into place, suggesting that I stupidly believed the Church to be immune from scrutiny.
Baloney! The Church needs criticism; we want it; we welcome it; we do a good bit of it ourselves; we do not expect any special treatment…so bring it on.
All we ask is that it be fair and accurate.
The reporting on Pope Benedict XVI has not been so.
Follow the links there, Archbishop Dolan does a good job providing resources and explanations.
While the report on the nauseating abuse is bitterly true, the insinuation against Cardinal Ratzinger is not, and gives every indication of being part of a well-oiled campaign against Pope Benedict.
And then he well summarizes the key points, and addresses them.
Nothing in this non-news merits the tsunami of headlines, stories, and diatribes against the Church and this Pope that we have endured this past week.
There was legitimate news last week that should have received much more attention than it did. It was the annual independent audit report on American dioceses on compliance with our own tough Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. For those who profess to be so interested in the welfare of the young, the news should have been trumpeted as stunning progress. Catholics deeply disturbed by lurid tales of wicked behavior twenty or thirty years ago might have been surprised to discover…
…and he gives accounts of the progress made in the Church in America since the crisis erupted here in 2001 (and because of all it uncovered), including the system of accountability in place to follow the discipline established by the U.S. bishops.
The details are many, but the effect was clear. It became easier to remove priests who have committed these crimes from ministry very quickly, and often, dismissed from the priesthood altogether. Since his election, Pope Benedict has repeatedly demonstrated that even high-ranking priests are to be held accountable, and has not minced words about the failures of his brother bishops – both here in the United States and just last week, in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland.
That has all been obscured, at best, by the false allegations persisting in the press.
This failure to report in similar detail today’s successes and yesterday’s failures suggests the bias I wrote about last fall. This is also about simply telling the truth, or more to the point, about peddling falsehoods to destroy the Holy Father’s good name. It needs to be called what it is – scandalous.
Let me be upfront: I confess a bias in favor of the Church and her Pope.
I only wish some others would admit a bias on the other side.