Clerical abuse reports being exploited to discredit Catholics, Elizabeth Lev charges

A prominent Catholic writer says “selective” and “salacious” reporting of Catholic clergy in the aftermath of clerical sexual abuse scandals is being used to discredit a “powerful moral voice” in public debate. Acknowledging genuine abuse, she says present day anti-clericalism echoes the slanders of pre-Revolutionary France.

That view comes from Elizabeth Lev, an art historian who has written for Inside the Vatican, Sacerdos and First Things magazine. A regular columnist for Zenit, she is also the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon.

“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 overwhelming majority of clergy who live holy quiet lives in their parishes,” Lev writes at Politics Daily.

Lev sees parallels between the “sustained hostile attacks” on Catholic clergy in pre-Revolutionary France and present-day media depictions of the Catholic Church.

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I absolutely believe that to be true, based on reports from people who know certain priests, and reports from a contact in Germany.

The secular media hates Holy Mother Church and will do anything to discredit her.

I believe that to be true as well. Americans will do anything to make a quick buck. They have no shame in it. Look at the Balloon Boy and Balloon Boy 2.0. Of course, the media doesn’t help much either. They don’t even bother to report the true.

I agree

Although what has been reported is true, it has been reported with a particular slant

But that does not surprise me; people need an enemy; a target; and one attempts to destroy a target; in this case, the target is the Catholic Church and not the priests who committed these acts

I think it is a well know fact that the secular world has waged a war on Religion, and most clearly the Roman Catholic Church. If you view the sexual exploitation of children on a research level, it clear it is a human problem, and has infected every religion, culture and parts of the world. I think the media tries to blame this sin on celibacy, but if look at the statistics for Southern Baptist or Rabbi’s, that is not a requirement and their numbers are equal or higher to the priests. Incidentally the government schools (public) in the USA have a much greater sexual abuse scandal, that never hits the news as the media is controlled to great extent. Just google NYC public school teachers sexual abuse, you will be surprised to see they are protected by the unions, and if have tenure sit in a room all day playing game, cards collecting their salary. (to the tune of millions)

Having said that, I am a cradle Catholic who attended Catholic School 1-12 grade. My grade school had two predator priests who one has since left and lives with a gay lover and the other is now under police investigation. Looking back to my grade school years I know what boys were abused as this particular priest would come as ask to remove them for assistance with church matters. He was then take them to the rectory and abuse them, many did not tell as he was the popular priest. Several students came out and he admitted it and left his new parish. The second one would take boys away camping and on trips and even asked my Mother if he could take my younger brother, who was in 7th grade at the time, away camping. By the grace of God, my Mom said no to any sleepovers and possibly saved my younger shy brother from this abomination. The priest has denied any wrong doing but dozens of boys (now men) have come forward to file charges. My question is how did the pastor of this parish not see the signs and if he did he should be an accomplice too. I still wonder if he violated my brother???

I have two young school age children and when I look at them sleeping at night the innocence is so beautiful and obvious. For a religious person, or adult to take advantage of a child is almost unforgivable. The stories of these victims are horrific and vile, the perpetrators should be in jail. The victims need to be heard, need to be healed and the RCC needs to have a better internal watchdog to weed out the infection that was allowed to fester and grow. I have such deep sadness for the RCC, which I love and live by, the handling of this cancer is unacceptable, the secrecy must end. We are all accountable to God’s laws, and civil law.

With the recent abuse in Europe, and Ireland in particular, as my grandparents were all from there, I have such sadness for the loss of innocence. It is a difficult Lent for me as I find it hard to go to confession not knowing if the priest perpetrated these crimes as well. I hope to find peace and forgiveness in my heart, and rejoice in the good of this blessed season.


You raise some marvelous points and they are well worth reflecting about. But 2 things trouble me about your post:

  1. Why didn’t the Pastor know?? Good question, but let me give you an example. At the first parish I was assigned to there were 4 priests (it was a rather large parish), and all of us had different jobs within the parish, and days often went by when the 4 of us rarely saw each other, except for a quick perfunctory breakfast together. We were expected (by the pastor) to do our jobs, but I must admit, we were all so busy that there was a strange sense of loneliness in the rectory on many nights…I often had no idea what the others were up to, and on their days off, I had no idea where they went to.

  2. I too am troubled by the fellow priests who abused…I knew some of them and was completely taken aback (almost crushed) when I heard about it. But I also knew many, many more who were/are faithful to their promises and work hard every day. Your comment about knowing whether the priest in the confessional (might have done this evil thing) tells me that you are falling for the media focus that “all priests are guilty.” Please don’t fall for that!

It is a hard Lent (and it is a Lent that is lasting a long time), but Easter WILL come and Christ WILL see his Church through this!

Thank you for your honest input and personal experience. I assure you I am not falling for the media circus around this abuse scandal, I will admit to being deeply affected by the stories I read of the victims and my classmates. I was in a very small parish with one Pastor and two priests and why sleepover trips and frequent trips to the rectory during school hours with boys should have been a red flag for the nuns, laypersons, and pastor. This is two of those priests under the pastor were abusing children for years, one was a former pharmacist who drugged the boys and the other gained trust from their mothers.
In my second parish the Msgr was jailed on a visit to Ireland due to someone coming forward. Can you see how this would impact me, without the media being involved, these are personal experiences that have injured my trust factor. Of the four parishes I’ve been a member there have been 3 charged priests, these are not good statistics.

As a mother my heart is broken for the innocence and evil perpetrated and more so with the RCC failure to act morally and then create a cover up. I pray for the victims and those who perpetrated this crime (that is what it is) and I must come to terms with this.
I know many priests in my current parish who are faithful, loving servants of the Lord , if I thought all were guilty I would have left the RCC. I am still here but struggling and want to have a peaceful lent but have reservations about confession now.

Shortly after the scandal broke some years back, the Michigan Catholic published information about how to report abuse and still publishes it.

I agree that this has been exploited to create maximum anti-Catholic bias in the population at large. Abuse by public school teachers appears from time to time but the Church is currently under attack by secularists. Militant anti-theism somehow has the money to buy billboards during this difficult economic period. This is well coordinated and directed. Catholics should be aware of this.

God bless,

No one but NAMBLA condones child abuse. Yet false accusations, implanted memories, and politicians seeking re-election have ruined lives.

This, too, is fact.

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