Catholic World News

Vatican newspaper: ‘pitiless’ media coverage of abuse scandals is one-sided but helpful

August 10, 2018

L’Osservatore Romano has published a front-page column on media coverage of clerical abuse scandals.

Italian historian Lucetta Scaraffia, a frequent contributor to the Vatican newspaper, said that media coverage typically ignores the Church’s “innumerable” actions to assist sexual abuse victims.

The “implacable and pitiless” nature of the coverage, she continued, is “born from disappointment.” In societies affected by the sexual revolution, this disappointment stems not so much from the discovery of “the sexual infraction or human weakness,” but from the discovery of the abuse of power, cover-ups, and inaction against perpetrators.

Scaraffia added that media coverage is not “malicious,” for the scandal is real, and that the media deserve credit for giving a voice to victims and for prodding into action those who wished to cover up the scandals.

Scaraffia cautioned that not all abuse allegations are true and that relationships, especially between adults, can be “complex” and not necessarily reduced to the categories of perpetrator and victim. But “clarity serves everyone,” and the media are “paradoxically helping the Church” to address “complex and painful problems.”

Scaraffia concluded with the wish that the media would also devote serious coverage to the Church’s “positive contributions.”


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