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Catholic World News

Distorted coverage of sex-abuse story continues

April 01, 2010

Misleading stories seeking to link Pope Benedict XVI to the sex-abuse scandal continue to appear regularly in major media outlets, and filter down uncontested through secondary reports. For example:

  • AP reports that Father Gerald Fitzgerald, a pioneer in the treatment of troubled priests, warned the Vatican in 1963 that pedophile priests must be permanently removed from ministry. The AP report suggests that the priest's letter to Pope Paul VI constitutes a new development in the sex-abuse story. In fact Father Fitzgerald's views are hardly news, having been widely discussed a decade ago.
  • The headline on an ABC news story refers to "new questions" about Pope Benedict's handling of sex-abuse charges. But the text of the story reports not questions but answers, explaining that when he was elected Pontiff, Benedict XVI promptly took action against Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who had previously been protected by powerful friends inside the Vatican.
  • The New York Times reports that Cardinal William Levada (among others) has lambasted the inaccuracies of Times coverage on the sex-abuse issue, but does not respond to the factual criticisms. "News coverage of the abuse has clearly touched a nerve in the Vatican," the Times now reports-- without addressing the possibility that what has "touched a nerve" is the distortion of that coverage.


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    • Posted by: Jfran - Apr. 01, 2010 6:37 PM ET USA

      We hear this hatefull Catholic bashing repeatedly in the press and on TV. Brian Williams on his NBC nightly news never misses a broadcast without making note of the "sex scandal" and "new revelations" (as reduntant as that may be). NBC's local affiliate Channel 7 Boston follows suit but they are hardly alone. So does ABC amd CBS, Turn to any channel and within fifteen minutes they'll derisively mention "the Pope". Then there is always the Boston Globe and NY Times. It is so frustrating.