'Bias in Media Reporting' by Fr Ronan Kilgannon

Is it okay for me to post this here? I recieved this article by email.

[LEFT][size=5][FONT=Palatino-Bold]The Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church[/size]
[/FONT][FONT=Palatino-Bold][size=4]Is it a problem? Yes.[/size][/FONT]
[size=4][FONT=Palatino-Bold]Is it being dealt with? Yes.[/size]
Is it endemic? No.
[/FONT]‘While no one denies the wrongdoing and the harm caused by a small
minority of priests, their misconduct has been used to undermine the
reputations of the over-whelming majority of clergy who live holy quiet
lives in their parishes, tending to their flocks. These good men have
been smeared with the same poisonous ink’. Elizabeth Lev In Defense of
the Catholic Clergy www.politicsdaily.com 21st March 2010.
[FONT=Palatino-Bold][size=5]Setting the record straight[/size][/FONT]
I would prefer not to be writing on this subject, I find it distasteful. But I do so to correct the erroneous impression given in the media worldwide in recent weeks, that the crime of the sexual abuse of children is exclusive to the Catholic Church and endemic among its clergy and religious.
Both are untrue. So far to my knowledge no voice in the Church in Australia has been raised to challenge this deliberate media bias.[/LEFT]

We have all been shamed and demoralized by the recent sensationalized coverage of serious but very old cases of abuse, including two remotely involving the Pope - one while he was an Archbishop in Germany 33 years ago, and the other as a Cardinal in Rome 9 years ago concerning a case in the U.S. 36 years ago.
[LEFT]*The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, *and surprising to me, *The Australian *printed without question material from the *New York Times *with unsubstantiated claims and innuendoes.

Gutter journalism indeed.
[LEFT]It goes without saying that the sexual abuse of minors is a horrible crime. Sadly, it is common.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York City noted on his website last week: ‘The sexual abuse of our young people is an international, cultural, societal horror. It affects every religion, country, family, job, profession, vocation, and ethnic group’.
Elizabeth Lev in the online article quoted above wrote: ‘The brutal reality is that there are an estimated 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. Of these, between 40 and 60 percent were abused by a family member (for the most part uncles, cousins, stepfathers and live-in boyfriends). Carol Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan have produced a study showing that 5 percent were molested by school teachers, while the New York Times published a survey showing that *fewer than 2% of the offenders were Catholic priests. But to read the papers, it would seem that Catholic clergy hold a monopoly in child molestation’ *(Emphasis mine).[/LEFT]

Massimo Introvigne, Italian Sociologist of Religion, wrote in an online article *‘Moral Panic flares again’ *on *MercatorNet *on 3rd April 2010: ‘According to studies by Philip Jenkins, if one compares the Catholic Church in the United States to the major Protestant denominations, one discovers that the presence of paedophiles – depending on the denominations – is from two to ten times higher for the major Protestant denominations compared to Catholic priests. The question is important because it demonstrates that the problem is not celibacy. Most of the Protestant pastors are married’. Yet this is rarely if ever reported.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Article continued in next post

have you ever noticed the people blame the media and complain about the media tend to either be guilty or are mouthpieces for the guilty?

[FONT=Palatino-Roman]‘In the same period in which about 100 American priests were convicted for sexually [/FONT]abusing minors, the number of gym teachers and coaches of junior sporting teams – also mainly married – who were convicted of the same crimes in the US reached about 6,000. The examples could continue, not only in the US. And above all, according to regular US government reports, two-thirds of sexual abuse against minors does not come from strangers or educators – including priests and Protestant pastors – but from family members: stepfathers, uncles, cousins, brothers and, unfortunately, even parents. Similar facts exist for numerous other countries’. Again rare mention of this in the media.[LEFT][LEFT]Tom Hoopes in an article on the *National Review Online *August 2006 quoted the Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft who has studied the problem in the U.S. Education system. She wrote: ‘Think the Catholic Church has a problem? The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests’. Her study was not reported in the press, little has been done to face the incidence of abuse in schools in the U.S. since. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is in no doubt of why there is such bias in media reporting of child abuse. I quote him because I think the situation is similar in Australia: ‘It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime … If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple of weeks. On October 14 2009, in the pages of the *New York Times, *reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the *Times *did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency … I criticise this kind of ‘selective outrage’. Other examples are cited by the Archbishop. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]‘Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the *New York Times. *In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription - along with every other German teenage boy - into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans’. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]‘The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be *fair, rational, *and *accurate, *what we would expect for anybody’ (Emphasis mine). [/LEFT]

[LEFT]A postscript from Archbishop Dolan: ‘We Catholics have for a decade apologized, cried, reached out, shouted mea culpa, and engaged in a comprehensive reform that has met with widespread acclaim.

We’ve got a long way to go, and the reform still has to continue. But it is fair to say … as the *National Review Online *observes, ‘the Church’s efforts to come to grips with this problem within the household of faith - more far reaching than in any other institution or sector of society - have led others to look to the Catholic Church for guidance on how to address what is, in fact, a global plague’. Again, the media never mentions this. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]I have lost all trust in the veracity and objectivity of the media and no longer refer to it for information of any kind. I will not allow its anti-Catholic bias to be the cause of a weakening of my faith in, or respect for, our Lord’s *‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’ *(Nicene Creed). [/LEFT]

[LEFT]Fr Ronan Kilgannon Erem. Dio.[/LEFT]

Here is the link for Fr. Kilgannon’s article:

The article missed a fundamental point. It is not the abuse that is causing the media firestorm; it is the cover-up of the abuse and its condonation by high church authorities who not only protected offenders from punishment but moved them from place to place where they were allowed to offend again. Even today, there is no indication that offenders will be seriously dealt with. Cardinal Law, for example, continues in a position of honor in Rome.

It is neither the abuse, nor the subsequent cover-up of the abuse; nor the fact that the Church’s hierarchy [umm, it was one Cardinal, out of like 3000… -editor] ‘condoned’ the ‘protection’… which caused the media firestorm.

It is the fact that the Church stands on its terra firma, unwilling to hop aboard the ‘ship of fools’ that is the decaying Western liberal establishment.

The media resents Her for this.


Kindly define your terms on this one.

Terra Firma: exactly what “solid ground” are or were Church authorities standing on when they fail to effectively investigate accusations of crime and if necessary remove and turn over to secular authorities those reasonably found to have committed them?

In Healthcare (where I work), it would be unacceptable for a physician to commit some of these actions, and State Medical Boards would strip that person of a license and ensure that they never practiced medicine again. We say that sunshine is the best disinfectant. If you want to stop problems, don’t hide them, get them in the open and figure out action plans for the way forward. For a position of trust like a cleric, such is the best action. By failing to disclose a problem, and acting only to hide, deny and cover up, the Church has heaped upon itself the shame of being complicit. The Church can’t just apologize this away, and crying about how we are being persecuted doesn’t do any good either. Claiming the Church stand on Terra Firma with this one is, I think wrong (my opinion, though)

decaying Western Liberal establishment: exactly what do you mean by this? Are you referring to cultural artifacts of which the Catholic Church is one (if you are talking about the west)? Are you thinking of things which are Liberal in the political sense? If so, then I suggest you wait until conservatism takes over and see if you are any happier. What do you mean by establishment? Are you referring to that which seems to have greater influence than the Church in temporal affairs? These terms are important because unless we know why they are used and use them honestly, we engage in the same level of useless rhetoric than those the OPs article castigates.

I doubt the media resents that Church. The media sees all weakness as an opportunity for coverage. Our folly (or anyones for that matter) is a chance to get a word in the public debate. Catholic indignation to the media does nothing to help the cause, because the media doesn’t care. Instead, the Church should look to its call to Love of God and Neighbor and act accordingly. Again, just my opinions.

One thing I have noticed about the recent stories by the Associated Press concerning the Church and priests who abused children is that in** none **of the news stories was there any attempt to put a perspective about the percentage of Catholic priests have abused children.

I think the number is about 5%, so that means over 90% of Catholic priests have most likely not committed any sex crimes.

Also, none of the stories mentioned if this is a problem in other religions or denominations of Christiany (it is).

And the national News Media is not concerned at all with the problem of public school teacher child molesters in our nation’s public schools.

It seems obvious to me that the national News Media is trying to stereotype all Catholic priests as child molesters, and given the lack of perspective, mainly a Catholic problem.

Also, the fact that most of this news reporting appeared during Lent and Holy Week and Easter was really very strange.

1 in 10 priests is still not a good figure. Luckily, that’s not the case. Its more like 1 in 50 [AS THE ARTICLE CLEARLY STATES], and most of the priests have a common profile of having been affected detrimentally (‘detrimentally’ is an understatement here) by certain theological and institutional confusions in the priesthood/formation/seminary.

Yeah, I def. agree with the Lent/Easter. Most of these cases are 30-100 years old. They knew what they were doing.

The article doesn’t say that 2% of priests are child abusers, it says that [fewer than] 2% of child abusers are priests. I’m not sure what percentage of priests are child abusers, but I think it would be less than 1%.

Ah, sorry! I guess I should be more delicate with the statistics.

I apologize to the person I tried to ‘correct’. :o

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.