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‘Future pope refused defrocking of convicted priest’

Catholic World News - May 31, 2010

In a manifest example of media bias, a May 30 Associated Press headline screamed, “Future pope refused defrocking of convicted priest”-- even though Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did not have the authority in 1989 to laicize a priest involuntarily. Instead, the future Pontiff asked the Diocese of Springfield to conduct a canonical trial that could lead to Father Alvin Campbell’s laicization. Three years later, when Father Campbell voluntarily sought his laicization, Cardinal Ratzinger granted his request-- as the Church discipline of the time permitted him to do.

The opening line of the AP story reads: "The future Pope Benedict XVI refused to remove a US priest from the ministry..." But the bishop of the Springfield, Illinois diocese did not need Vatican permission to remove the priest from active ministry; he had full authority to take that step himself. Bishop Daniel Ryan, who headed the Springfield diocese at the time, resigned his post in 1999 after a lawsuit was filed charging that the bishop had failed to act against abusive priests because he feared exposure of his own homosexual activities. Bishop Ryan was suspended from public ministry in 2002 after new charges that he himself had molested a young man.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: clinnickr5320 - May. 31, 2010 11:32 PM ET USA

    I think we have come to expect AP and other "Main Stream" media outlets to attack the Church, especially "Peter" at any opportunity. Truth has no significance for them anymore.

  • Posted by: Athelstan - May. 31, 2010 9:49 PM ET USA

    Who can hold the Associated Press responsible for its manifest misinformation?

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - May. 31, 2010 7:37 PM ET USA

    This is either a case of media bias, media ignorance, or some combination of the two. In either case it is poor journalism and that should be pointed out in a competing publication. The only to stop this sort of thing is to use the power of the press where it counts -- in the press.

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