Ed KochWriting in the Jerusalem Post, New York’s
legendary mayor Ed Koch, a Jew, has penned an extraordinary critique of media
coverage of the crisis facing Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.

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.

How does he explain the abuse?

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.

And the attack on the Church?

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.

Koch emphases that he is not a Catholic
apologist and differs from the Church on many issues – the same ones for which
the media attacks it. He even expresses anger that some Catholics have
whispered that media hostility is due to “a New York Jewish lobby”. Still, he
believes that “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.”

But “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.

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.