Authors Greg Erlandson and Matthew Bunson continue the discussion they began in the book from Our Sunday Visitor, Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal. Send us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindle Edition available for download at amazon.com.
Commentary on media coverage
Deacon Greg Kandra, of the Deacon's Bench blog, did an informal test and finds that Americans — including Catholics in the pews — got shortchanged in media coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to Great Britain last weekend.
Most people, he believes, came away thinking that the pope went for the main purpose of meeting sex abuse victims, and that Brits by and large weren't happy about him being there.
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By now, the Associated Press should know that its coverage of the role of Pope Benedict XVI -- then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a top Vatican official -- in the awful case of the child-abuser and former Oakland, Calif., priest Stephen Kiesle was ill-informed and based on a faulty understanding of basics about the Catholic Church.
And yet, five months after its first report on the case, it is repeating the same gross error.
We've had occasion more than once (like here, here, here, here and here) to write about unfair reporting by The New York Times and other U.S. news outlets on the clerical sex abuse scandal and particularly about the mischaracterization of Pope Benedict XVI's role in handling it.
But The New York Times has got nothing on the British press.
Buried in Sunday's New York Times (Page A16) was a 10-inch story about the discovery that dozens of military officials and defense contractors -- some with top secret clearance -- have been downloading child pornography. (It was a story originally reported by the Boston Globe.)
You'd think this would get a little more attention.
According to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, the world’s largest public service broadcast network that exists under a Royal Charter) is planning to celebrate the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England and Scotland in September by putting the pontiff “on trial.” The 90-minute show will offer a hypothetical trial of the pope for covering up child sex abuse cases by priests.
The New York Times once again attacked Pope Benedict XVI in its July 1 edition with another poorly researched and error-filled article. Having failed to stir up any major controversy with the article, the Times editors railed anew in an editorial on Friday expressing explicitly the biases that were so implicit in its earlier article. In the July 1 article, the Times claims that then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed in his responsibilities to claim jurisdiction over sex abuse cases in the 1990’s.
The world's media is focused intently on the Vatican again as the Year for Priests closes. Pope Benedict XVI is expected over the next few days to address an international gathering of priests in Rome for conferences and celebrations to close the jubilee. The big question, of course, is whether he'll again address the issue of clerical sex abuse.
The invaluable media criticism blog "GetReligion" does a good job deconstructing the latest attempt to tie a direct line between Pope Benedict XVI and the mishandling of U.S. abuser priests.
Time magazine has a lengthy article online called "The trial of Benedict XVI" that essentially makes two points: Pope Benedict has to apologize for the abuse scandal. A radical, laity-driven restructuring — from both left and right — of the Church is underfoot.
The Associated Press reports Pope Benedict XVI called the sex abuse crisis the "greatest threat" to the Catholic Church. But he didn't.
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