Church under attack in the news

Before I signed onto the Catholic Forums today, I looked briefly at my ISP homepage which contains quite a few newslinks. Within ten seconds I saw three about the church, and none of them complimentary. One was about the nuns who support the health care bill against the will of the bishops. Another involves how a priest in France is against the celibacy rule because he had a mistress for years and was eventually “forced” to choose his mistress over his vocation. The last one is a flimsy one about how the German church is now full of scandal and it is all the Pope’s fault somehow (I didn’t see anything to support this).

I think it is very important that we stand against all of this libel and slander. Yet most of the Catholics I know are either ignorant of such attacks, or ignorant of their Faith (and unconcerned about it). My Baptist friends have very little of the same problem. What are some ways, I wonder, that we could get the Catholics of the USA not only motivated in their Faith, but educated so that when this libel and slander appears in the news we as Catholics can turn it aside with the truth?

Catholicism is unfairly and often maligned in a way that the media wouldn’t do to Presbyterians or Methodists. It is hard to be Catholic and stand for Catholic teaching. On the one hand, we’re attacked by secularists because we’re seen as interfering with society by imposing our moral viewpoints. On the other, we’re attacked by fellow Christians because we’re seen as adhering to a divergent ecclesiology or errant theology. So often to fully express our views we must go alone.

I think we’re aware of it but many succumb to the slow martyrdom of having the important aspects beaten out of us for fear that we’ll be seen as old-fashioned or intolerant or homophobic or misogynistic. If you start with a faithful Catholic who is weak in his or her faith, and allow every progressive and relativist thought to enter, you end up with a nominal Catholic who goes to Mass on Sunday and puts their faith away the rest of the week - and a prime candidate for proselytizing by an evangelical group who espouses cheap grace, a secular movement full of zombies who want all love and no holiness, or another Protestant group that actually is taking a stand on moral theology.

Because a story about Catholic missionaries tending to the wounded in Haiti isn’t news, while a story about a teen lesbian denied from taking her girlfriend to the Prom is.
A story about Catholic volunteers appealing for donations to help feed the unemployed in Detroit isn’t news, while a story about airline passengers being stranded on the runway for 17 hours is.
A story about the systematic murder of Catholics in Darfur by the Sudanese military isn’t news while a speech by Benedict condemning radical Islam is.

I agree with Dan Brown on one thing: journalists are agents of chaos. They set the tone, timbre and ultimately victor of every debate in public opinion.

We, as Church, can discuss and disagree on points that are not central to the faith. Here the disagreement is over the HOW of health care, not whether health care for all is a good idea. To paint it in the light of “The bishops are cold and cruel and these loving sweet little nuns are so right” ignores the nuances that have been addressed in other forums.

At his ordination, "What’d you mean I can’t screw my girlfriend anymore?"
Not to belittle it, indeed this is the heart of what I hate in the popular culture. We’ve gone from “I can’t tell anyone what to do with their body” to an expectation of rampant sexuality. Have we forgotten we are better than the animals and don’t need to screw everything in sight?

On the one hand, abuse of minors needs to be brought to authorities and where church leadership betrays the trust of the faithful those leaders need to be called on the carpet.

On the other hand, it’s easy to latch on to a scandal and ignore other more pressing issues, such as the daily murders of children under legalized abortion, and the tremendous social and economic pressures that lead desperate women into such terrible choices.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing were prophesied by Christ Himself. Is Jesus attacking the Church? The American bishops literally said that predatory priests fulfilled Christ’s warning against scandalizing the little ones. Are the bishops attacking the Church? A good immune system can tell the difference between good guys and bad guys. May the Lord give us all hearty appetites for the truth and inspire us to hunger and thirst for justice. The Church doesn’t need better P.R., it needs better checks and balances. Demand full disclosure and no more hush money to silence victims of clergy abuse. ORA ET LABORA. Work and pray. Stop worrying about the Church’s image. “Pray the daily Rosary for peace.” --Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima

When did they say that?

Also we can align ourselve with the “Catholic League for Religious and Civil Liberties” that fights daily to slay the slander so to speak of the Catholic Church. Bill Donahue heads it up. Talk about a fighting Irishman! :stuck_out_tongue:

Liable and slander?

I am not sure I understand this issue, did or did not Catholic priests in Germany abuse young children, just as they did in the US? If so, I hardly think it appropriate to take offense when the issue is raised in the press. Someone has to put a stop to such behavior and apparently the Catholic hierarchy did less than what was appropriate at the time. Just because the current pope may not have been personally involved, he was a bishop at the time in the diocese involved. Someone in the hierarchy during that time dropped the ball.

Child molestation is evil. That priests did the molestation absolutely destroyed my faith in both priests and some critical church doctrine.

Which priests and which doctrines?

[quote="irishpatrick, post:7, topic:191154"]
Which priests and which doctrines?

[/quote]

I do not know the purpose of your question, are you saying there was no abuse?

No, there was abuse.

You said: “… absolutely destroyed my faith in both priests and some critical church doctrine.”

All priests, or just the ones who abused?

Which doctrines and why?

Catholic bishop says sex abuse scandals will cause ‘generations of damage’

timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7063171.ece

The Roman Catholic Church is “holed beneath the waterline” and may take generations to recover from the sex abuse scandals, according to the first English bishop to speak out on the crisis.

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Right Rev Kieran Conry, rejected accusations of media bias against the Catholic Church and said the problems of paedophile priests dominating headlines in the UK and across Europe were problems of the Church’s own making. “The Roman Catholic Church sets itself up to be the great moral authority. When it does fail its own rigid standards, it deserves to be attacked and criticize,” he said.

I concur with his observation otherwise, this matter would still continue to be hidden and the abuse would continue.:gopray2:

The attacks always come to end.

Thank you for your clarification. I am glad to respond.

As a youngster I was a devout Catholic. I was taught by my church, the Sisters of St Joseph, the Christian Brothers and my parish priests that priests are the very special representative of Jesus, they were holy men. I attended mass at least 2 or 3 days each week through my high school years. I was an alter boy, the pastor and priests could always count on me to serve and fill in when there was a shortfall. As an alter boy I was emphatically taught the priests hands were the sacred implements of Jesus, they alone could handle the communion. Under this guidance, I devoutly believed priests to the sacred vessels of Jesus Christ. I thought the way I was taught to think. I devoutly believed my Catholic Church.

Then I found what many did with their sacred hands, they fondled little children; they raped little children. So you ask, certain priests or all priests. The answer is all priests. I have learned they are not what I was taught. They are not the sacred beings. You may say I was taught wrong as a child, priests were always just men. You are right, I was taught wrong on this and how many other issues? The church is even saying priests abuse children less than the national average! They are better than the average and this is the answer! It is not. It makes the whole mess even more egregious. It says priests should be held to the same standard as everyone else, I cannot conceive of a more ridiculous statement. Priests are men of God, sanctified in sacrament, in my young mind I saw them as sacred, not only are they not, but the church now indicates they should simply be held to the same standards as everyone else.

My answer is all priests. They are not as advertised when I was a devout young man willing to be lead by their sacred status as representatives of Jesus on earth.

I will address your second question shortly.

It’s not libel or slander if the charges are truth. Investigations and research validate the truth of these charges both by the Church and secular authorities. The Pope as well as various Cardinals have come out acknowledging these abuses, apologizing for these abuses and implementing steps to prevent future occurrences.

Just viewing the topics in this thread will give you the extent of the problem facing the Church.
forums.catholic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=45:crossrc:

[quote="SGHumanist, post:12, topic:191154"]
Thank you for your clarification. I am glad to respond.

As a youngster I was a devout Catholic. I was taught by my church, the Sisters of St Joseph, the Christian Brothers and my parish priests that priests are the very special representative of Jesus, they were holy men. I attended mass at least 2 or 3 days each week through my high school years. I was an alter boy, the pastor and priests could always count on me to serve and fill in when there was a shortfall. As an alter boy I was emphatically taught the priests hands were the sacred implements of Jesus, they alone could handle the communion. Under this guidance, I devoutly believed priests to the sacred vessels of Jesus Christ. I thought the way I was taught to think. I devoutly believed my Catholic Church.

Then I found what many did with their sacred hands, they fondled little children; they raped little children. So you ask, certain priests or all priests. The answer is all priests. I have learned they are not what I was taught. They are not the sacred beings. You may say I was taught wrong as a child, priests were always just men. You are right, I was taught wrong on this and how many other issues? The church is even saying priests abuse children less than the national average! They are better than the average and this is the answer! It is not. It makes the whole mess even more egregious. It says priests should be held to the same standard as everyone else, I cannot conceive of a more ridiculous statement. Priests are men of God, sanctified in sacrament, in my young mind I saw them as sacred, not only are they not, but the church now indicates they should simply be held to the same standards as everyone else.

My answer is all priests. They are not as advertised when I was a devout young man willing to be lead by their sacred status as representatives of Jesus on earth.

I will address your second question shortly.

[/quote]

This is certainly "painting with a broad brush." Why would you lump all the good priests (the vast majority) in together with those who are pedophiles or ephebophiles and the members of the hierarchy who covered up their actions?

I also that as the Church has very specific standards of conduct with regard to chastity, it only stands to reason that when members of her clergy violate those standards in despicable ways, they should be castigated for this outrageous, harmful behavior. Those members of the clergy who live up to their commitments should be the first to call them out on this behavior, as they have brought dishonor to the priestly fraternity and caused the suspicion with which priests are now regarded by many. However, blaming all priests for the actions of a relative few makes no sense at all and is grossly unfair.

They’re accused, as they were in the U.S., and as of this point I don’t believe any accusations in Germany have gone to trial though I am certain some will. Did priests, or did they not, abuse children, is precisely the issue and an accusation is not enough.

What is frustrating is to see the press pounce on this with the same vigor they pounced on the American church. Meanwhile, when the public school abuse scandal broke in the same year - implicating a much larger number of persons - there was almost no story there. The media weren’t interested and to many of us (myself included) it felt deliberately overzealous. Yes, by all means let the law go after those whom it can. Yes, let’s have reform. But please let’s not tear down all the good that the Chuch does and please let’s not destroy the credibility of innocent individuals on the sole basis of accusations.

The John Jay report, commissioned by the USCCB in 2004, found that about 10%
(10,600) of the roughly 109,000 priests serving in the time period had been accused, of which 30% had since died, 30% were cleared, and the remaining 40% of cases were turned over to law enforcement. A total of 1,021 priests were turned over to the police, who brought 384 to trial, convicting 252 of them. So about 3.5% of those priests accused who still alive were ultimately convicted. That’s a sparse success rate to spend public resources on litigating. I’d expect a similar rate in Germany unless the standards of evidence are substantially different.

This low rate also unfortunately means that it is difficult to press legitimate cases to trial, as well as difficult to affirmatively refute false accusations.

In old cases when decades have passed, it is nearly impossible to prove abuse took place by an acceptable standard of law. If it comes down to the word of a victim against an accused about something that took place a long time ago, what can be done?
Catholics are, in general, upset about this, often for distinct or even conflicting reasons. We’re upset that any of it happened at all in the first place. We’re upset to see suspected priests shuffled around, and we’re upset to see flimsy accusations push a good priest out of a role where he performed admirably. I think to call all of the accusations ‘slander and libel’ reflects as much frustration as to call all of the accusations truthful.

The press don’t help, mate. They’re like vultures looking for fresh blood. Many of us lost our faith in the media long ago.

Agreed, where it happened. I am encouraged by the reforms made going forward.

Does that mean it was him?

I’m sorry to hear that, and the guilt of your loss of faith will fall upon those who molested children and those who covered it up. It is better they never been born than to suffer what will come to them.

I wouldn’t say it’s under attack.

I would say that the mass media is certainly taking advantage of bringing to issue the wrong doings of a few fallen priests. If they did it - then they should be brought forth and dealt with.

I can say this coming from a parish who’s pastor was found guilty of the same act.

I’m glad he was exposed - deserved it. The press he got locally was enormous. Rightfully so… From there approx 8 more were found guilty of the same act.

Of course if they are guilty they deserve to be brought to light and excommunicated, as well as facing civil penalties. Apparently I was not clear enough in my original post. However, I still believe that the media distorts the proportionate number of abuse cases from the Catholic Church as opposed to all other sources. (And before I get a ton of flaming, angry spam, yes one case is too many!)

I have been following the papers closely on this issue.

I would just like to know where they have erred in their facts, if anything the Germans have been giving the Church the BOTD, any other organization would of been raided by now. No Church has the right to shield behind it's religion when it's clergy, no matter how few (and I know that the vast majority of Priests are good God-fearing men), are harming the young.

You’re wrong there. I think this is one bit of evidence that the media doesn’t promote a correct story of events. The Peope was not a bishop of the diocese involved.

Pope Benedict apologises for Irish priests’ sex abuse

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8577740.stm

[quote=BBC]Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to victims of child sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland.
In a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, he acknowledged the sense of betrayal in the Church felt by victims and their families.
[/quote]

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