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.
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.
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One of the abuse victim plaintiffs whose lawyer dropped their suit in Kentucky against the Vatican last week has reconciled with the Church -- after 80 years.
The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal has the story:
In the end, (James) O'Bryan reconciled with the church because of the actions of a priest — the same reason he said he left in the first place.
O'Bryan, now 89 and living in northern California, was one of three plaintiffs who sued the Vatican in 2004, alleging that the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church had orchestrated a cover-up of sexual abuse through centuries of secret policies. He said he was sexually abused by a Louisville priest in 1928.
If the Irish episcopate was not already racked with controversy, now comes word that Pope Benedict has not accepted the resignations of two Irish auxiliary bishops that were given to the Holy See last December at the height of the sex abuse crisis in Ireland. The surprising news was announced in a letter to the clergy of Dublin sent by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Aug. 10.
The criticism of Pope Benedict, ostensibly connected to the sexual abuse scandals, has hit a new low. The latest allegation, unencumbered by fact but rife with prurient innuendo, is that Pope Benedict is gay. And, as with other in-house Catholic controversies, both extremes of left and right seem to be allies of convenience in casting aspersions.
The gossip site TMZ August 9 reported the comments of Mel Gibson’s 91-year-old father, a schismatic traditionalist who has been accused of various other failings, including anti-Semitism....
In a message of greetings to a gathering of the Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C., Pope Benedict XVI emphasized spiritual renewal as the priority in responding to the scandal of clerical sex abuse.
Signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, the message sounded a note of confidence that the Catholic Church would be able to restore its credibility — but only by greater faithfulness to its mission.
In the face of often unfair and unfounded attacks on the Church and her leaders, His Holiness is convinced that the most effective response...
The top Catholic churchman of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, critiqued the Vatican's media response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis. From an interview with the Telegraph: “On this issue, the Vatican has got itself in a very defensive position, which probably inhibits some of the positive initiatives which we could be taking,” he says. “The Holy See can do a lot better in its understanding of how the media perceives things and how important those perceptions are.” Read the entire interview here.
Judge Anne Burke of the Illinois Supreme Court has had extensive experience with the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. She served as interim chair of the National Review Board, monitoring the Church's response to sex abuse in the wake of the Dallas Charter and the series of reforms endorsed by the U.S. bishops.
Judge Burke became a blunt critic of the bishops at times, scolding those who she felt were not cooperating fully with the review board, but she had words of praise for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger was one of only a few Vatican officials who was willing to meet with her as interim chair, In a subsequent interview, she praised the cardinal "for being far more open to meeting with members of the national review board than our own bishops and cardinals. He took in everything we had to say and answered our questions. And we pulled no punches."
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.
In her July 18 column, one of Maureen Dowd’s many snarky comments was a throw-away slam: “If Roman Polanski were a priest, he’d still be working” in the Church.The line is striking in that Maureen Dowd gets it exactly wrong. If Roman Polanski were a priest in the United States, he would have been subject to a zero-tolerance policy. His diocese most likely would have been sued. And he might very well be laicized or put under severe restrictions.
Instead, he is most fortunate that he is not a priest, for he has the adulation of cultural elites, including the endorsement of Woody Allen, whose weighty moral assessment of Polanski’s status as a pedophile comes down to: “It happened many years ago. He has suffered. He's an artist, he's a nice person.” Can anyone imagine an abuser priest getting off the hook with such an endorsement?
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