The "biased media" and "other people do it too" response to scandal

I've noticed that over the years whenever there is a sexual abuse scandal in the church i see well constructed, passionately argued articles and opinions taking one or both of the following approaches:

a) abuse is bad but this is blown out of proportion by a biased anti-catholic media

b) abuse is bad, but if you break it down by percentages Catholic priests don't do it any more (or do it less) than others.

i'm curious, considering that we've been using these standard responses for the at least 20 years of what I can remember, how well have they worked for us? have they stopped abuse? successfully rehabbed the image of the church? protected children? made "the media" less biased?

what do you think is the utility of these responses?

Really all it has done is make the Catholic Faith work worse. From trying to find anyone to shift the blame to gays, liberals, the media and so on. Especially from a group that sets itself up to be the One True Religion. The faith great ship in the storm that others should lash themselves to and follow. A shinning example to the world.

In the case of my own Paganism the most we get out of the RCC is finding new ways to make sure this mess doesn’t happen in our ranks and if it does how NOT to deal with it.

You should see the threads in Politics about bipartisanship and irresponsible rhetoric!

Slim and none.

[quote="PPeterson, post:1, topic:193337"]
I've noticed that over the years whenever there is a sexual abuse scandal in the church i see well constructed, passionately argued articles and opinions taking one or both of the following approaches:

a) abuse is bad but this is blown out of proportion by a biased anti-catholic media

b) abuse is bad, but if you break it down by percentages Catholic priests don't do it any more (or do it less) than others.

i'm curious, considering that we've been using these standard responses for the at least 20 years of what I can remember, how well have they worked for us? have they stopped abuse? successfully rehabbed the image of the church? protected children? made "the media" less biased?

what do you think is the utility of these responses?

[/quote]

Our responses have nothing to do with the reforms that have been put into place. The reforms, by the way, are substantial and what is now in place is probably better than any other institution you can find. Our responses are not what will rehabilitate the image of the church, but the reforms will to some degree. Reducing the media bias will happen only if people speak up about it. It is too early to tell if our responses have had much of an impact on the media. Frankly, the media needs a morals overhaul at every level and not just a bias overhaul.

Society in general is pretty much in the gutter and it is not surprising that we find people in the Church involved in serious moral failures.

We can all help by turning off the TV and refusing to watch trashy movies at the theater. We can use the time allotted to those useless endeavors for prayer and fasting. When we become better, our Church will also be better.

God bless.

Nothing can be said or done to make anyone 'feel' better. But is it about the children being abused or the Catholic Church ?

If it's about the Catholic Church, all we can do is accept corporate responsability, learn from it, apologise and fix the problem going foward. It's my understanding there all of 6 credible cases presented to the US Bishops in '09 in a church of 65,000,000 members. Thats six too many but I feel things are being done in the Church and there is more of an effort to make sure it doesn't happen again, more so than in any other institution in the world.

If it's about the children then I would say, one could never get a real perspective on such a terrible thing but I think you can get a sense of proportion. Studies show that about half the abuse that takes place takes place in the family. A father, uncle, cousin, someone who's trusted. The Shakeshaft Study done in 2004 by the Dept of Education also showed that a child is 100 times more likely to get abused in a public school than he or she is by a Catholic Priest. Nearly 9.6% of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.

THIS IN NO WAY EXCUSES PRIESTS THAT ARE SEXUAL PREDATORS

As someone who has a son who's a Benedictine monk I do think if this is about the children and it should be, then other institutions should step and do some of the things the Church is doing or at least trying to do to prevent this going foward. We can't help the past now but we can move foward.

In no way does this rattle my faith in the Priesthood, the Papacy, the Church. I'm reminded of what the Pope said when Napolean broke into the Vatican and said to him he was going to destroy the Church. The Pope supposedly laughed and said "Priests have been trying to do that for 1500 years, what makes you think you can do it ?"

I think those approaches are typical of those who feel attacked, and I believe there's some truth to what they say, but they probably aren't very helpful.

My priest mentioned the sexual abuse scandals in his Holy Thursday homily. First, he apologized, to the entire congregation, for anything he'd said or done in the previous year that wounded anyone, and asked their forgiveness. Then he expressed his sorrow over any priest, anywhere, who had done evil, especially abuse. Then he looked at all of us, and he asked us to pray, and pray hard, for our priests.

I think that's probably the best response (in addition to all the reforms already put in place, of course.)

Thread moved from News forum because it has no article and link.

There is no adequate response to someone who has been sexually abused as a child - nothing can make it not to have happened . All that one can do is to respond to the abused with true Charity . i.e. Love of ones brothers & sisters for the love of God . The ones who did these things were not doing Gods will - they were committing personal sins , these sins are theirs alone & for this we should pray for them - at the same time justice should be done & they must answer to their victims both before mans tribunals & in due course - Gods . It is true that in forgiving that we too are forgiven . Those who have not met these sins against God & the victims with more appropriate actions also need our prayerful support . We are all limited by our human nature & yes we all do make mistakes & fall short of the ideals we impose upon others . Much prayer & penance is needed to support both the abused & those trying to find ways to give them some sort of help & healing - such as is possible .
[SIGN]Pax et Bonum[/SIGN]

[quote="PPeterson, post:1, topic:193337"]
I've noticed that over the years whenever there is a sexual abuse scandal in the church i see well constructed, passionately argued articles and opinions taking one or both of the following approaches:

a) abuse is bad but this is blown out of proportion by a biased anti-catholic media

[/quote]

I think people sometimes go too far & try to claim that the whole thing was totally got up by the media or the media are run by Masons or Jews who want to destroy the Church. Definitely not a helpful response.

I think the media just loves to bring down anybody it can, all the better if it is an established institution like the Church. Think Billy Joel's "Dirty Laundry".
But reporters are probably among the laziest people on Earth and much of the reporting has been not just sloppy but grossly inaccurate and we have a right to point that out.

b) abuse is bad, but if you break it down by percentages Catholic priests don't do it any more (or do it less) than others.

We shouldn't even try to use this one.
Another true-but-useless defense; the vast majority of the abuse was not pedophilia at all, it was committed by gay priests against young teenaged boys, but that will never fly in today's world.

The response should be; yes, it happened & the Bishops handled it horribly; since 80s the US Church has totally changed its screening process for new candidates for Holy Orders, and; implemented a "one strike you're out" policy (which has been grossly unjust to falsely accused priests, btw) and all these measures have been successful eliminating as much as possible abuse by priests.

i'm curious, considering that we've been using these standard responses for the at least 20 years of what I can remember, how well have they worked for us? have they stopped abuse? successfully rehabbed the image of the church? protected children? made "the media" less biased?

what do you think is the utility of these responses?

Nothing is going to make the media less biased, or do better coverage. It is just too easy to go with what their "sources" (the lawyers suing the Church) give them without doing any further checking. In the Milwaukee case the priest in charge of the canonical case against Fr Murphy was never contacted.

I don't know what can rehab the image of the Church except time.

"nothing is going to make the media less biased"? I think that sort of thinking leaves out some hopeful possibilities.

The Holy Father has asked Catholics to use the internet. We can help provide a semblance of balance to what the media tells us. The internet is the most powerful networking tool ever developed, but some just don't know how to use it well or truly considered the possibilities.

Each one of us has a voice. Let's use it -- the internet -- for good, for healing, and to encourage one another.

God bless,
Ed


Choose Jesus.

A former pastor of mine tells of being spat on. The political cartoon in our local paper depicts deaf children reaching out to Pope Benedict XVI for help but he intentionally ignores them.
A letter about the ‘thousands of children over thousands of years’ being raped by RC clergy is printed. If it were only one child over the 2,000 yrs of the church it should be recorded and reported in bold print. Light and exposure is the beginning of the solution.
But we are dealing w/ a media that is corrupt in itself and has abandoned most of journalism’s ethics re: truth and facts. I find it edifying to read articles by Catholics who speak out re: the facts of this unfolding horror story. If those armed w/ the facts did not speak out and publish articles how would we know the truth? Pope Benedict XVI was a youth Nazi and grew up to shelter and protect serial rapists? The same media that are relentless in defaming the brave friend of the Jews, Pope Pius XII, are in charge of reporting this story.
A priest in this area of the country, northwest, was found guilty in court of molestation/rape even though there were photographs, documentation, and witnesses testifying he was not living in this area @ the time of the reported abuse. His accusers charge he was the clergy assigned to the state institution over the specific period of time he was assigned elsewhere. Guilty because of the seriousness of the charge?

There are a lot of good responses here already.

One additional point I would like to make is on how we are seen outside the Church (and even by some inside)… it has not gotten much better.

The “sex scandal” was of course about a sex scandal, what really happened, who really was culpable, to what degree, and what reforms have been put into place. It was shameful and intolerable, of course, but it is behind us to the degree that is possible in a Church this size. It is old news.

The “sex scandal” story today is really about the liberal agenda. We do not accept contraception, abortion, gay “marriage”, women priests, etc. Unlike some Protestant denominations, the liberal left understands that we will not back away from the truth. Since changing us to their agenda is out, all that remains is to destroy us and that is what they are attempting. It happens every Christmas, Easter, and anytime we have been vocal against their political interests.

It is not paranoia to feel the press is out to get you when in fact, they are out to get you. How often do you see the press talk about the sex scandal in Protestant churches, in public schools, in youth sports, in scouting organizations? It is happening widely right now but totally under-reported, if mentioned at all. The focus of the liberal press is instead on events in the Church from decades ago, exaggerating them, and bogus attempts to scandalize Pope Benedict.

Their message is that pedophile priests are running rampant in the Church, they are unchecked, protected from prosecution, children are at extreme risk, nothing has changed all the way to the highest levels. The Catholic Church just “doesn’t get it.” THAT is a complete lie.

It has gotten so bad, with Maureen Dowd’s hysterical and unsupported columns in the New York Times and MSNBC’s completely fabricated headline “Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far” that almost anything goes. They get away with this stuff.

We are about the truth and the liberal press will fail, but we must recognize with clarity what they are doing and why.

Honestly, I think the only way we will be able to fix this is to begin aggressively suing them personally and their publications every time they do this. Expecting them to be journalists, objective reporters, interested in the truth, and fact checkers has proven to just be naive.

[quote="lutherlic, post:12, topic:193337"]
There are a lot of good responses here already.

One additional point I would like to make is on how we are seen outside the Church (and even by some inside)... it has not gotten much better.

The "sex scandal" was of course about a sex scandal, what really happened, who really was culpable, to what degree, and what reforms have been put into place. It was shameful and intolerable, of course, but it is behind us to the degree that is possible in a Church this size. It is old news. This does not sound like a very compassionate response. Are you sure you mean this. It's "old news" to us americans but it's not old in Europe where they are first starting to deal with it.

The "sex scandal" story today is really about the liberal agenda. It is what it is..a scandal. The media is not making this up. Had it not been for the Boston Globe we may not have made the decision to fix this problem inthe U.S. We do not accept contraception, abortion, gay "marriage", women priests, etc. Unlike some Protestant denominations, the liberal left understands that we will not back away from the truth. The truthis a scandal did happenSince changing us to their agenda is out, all that remains is to destroy us and that is what they are attempting. It happens every Christmas, Easter, and anytime we have been vocal against their political interests. You've been vocal for quite a while. No one is trying to silence you. Don't exagerrate.

It is not paranoia to feel the press is out to get you when in fact, they are out to get you. How often do you see the press talk about the sex scandal in Protestant churches, in public schools, in youth sports, in scouting organizations? It is happening widely right now but totally under-reported, if mentioned at all. The focus of the liberal press is instead on events in the Church from decades ago, exaggerating them, and bogus attempts to scandalize Pope Benedict.

Their message is that pedophile priests are running rampant in the Church, they are unchecked, protected from prosecution, children are at extreme risk, nothing has changed all the way to the highest levels.We here in Amnerica have addressed the problem. It a new thing in Europe. Ireland did a 7 or 8 year investigation and the results were truly depressing. The results of the investigation in Ireland whould shame any Catholic. The Catholic Church just "doesn't get it." THAT is a complete lie.

It has gotten so bad, with Maureen Dowd's hysterical and unsupported columns in the New York Times and MSNBC's completely fabricated headline "Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far" that almost anything goes.Could you provide a link I find this hard to believe. They get away with this stuff.

We are about the truth and the liberal press will fail, but we must recognize with clarity what they are doing and why.

Honestly, I think the only way we will be able to fix this is to begin aggressively suing them personally and their publications every time they do this. Expecting them to be journalists, objective reporters, interested in the truth, and fact checkers has proven to just be naive.

[/quote]

I do agree with your last statement.
I think we should get it all out and deal with it for once and for all. We still haven't heard from South America or Africa. Let's face the problem Accept blame where it is due and find a way to help the people that hold the Church responsible for devastating their lives.

A priest weighs in:
huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/catholic-sex-abuse-media_b_521623.html

Don't blame the messenger.

Whether or not biased media is trying to beat up in the church - long term I think shining a bright spotlight on this will help the church. Some people in the media may wish this would be the death of the church. It will not be. The sooner all of this comes to light, the better. Christ will not abandon his church, and many years hence the church will be stronger for this having come out.

This may be a good time to re-read the psalms, Isaiah and Ezekiel and the other prophetic works of the Old Testament. Even when Israel has really screwed up, and is in exile in a foreign land for a hundred years, God has not abandoned her. He calls her back into the covenant, breathes new life into her. I have faith it will be the same with the church. It may not happen all at once tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even within my lifetime. The various revitalizations of the church associated with movements and reformers like St Francis and St Ignatius didn’t happen overnight. More like decades. I know we have a 24 hour media cycle and people want instant feedback, but this is a spiritual as well as moral crisis, and healing of spiritual ills takes time. Same reason Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant’s scandals were media sensations, because they had squeaky clean images, whereas people just kind of laugh and shrug at Pacman Jones.

PS I have no use for the line of reasoning that “other people do it too”… who cares. We are called to be holy. There is no use in accepting a little bit of grave sin, just because maybe teachers and doctors and boy scouts have the same problems. If the media calls more attention to it in the church - again they may have other motives, but they are right to do it. It’s especially a scandal in the church precisely because we believe so strongly that we are all called to holiness.

I see the problem with abuse of children as not just a catholic church problem. The fact that it happens much more in other religions and organizations is just proof of the situation as a whole, whenever children are involved and placed under the care of adults. Abuse of children is a factor everywhere, not just in a church, or school, it even goes right down to the simplest organization, the family unit.

When people bring this fact up, it's not to excuse anything. It's to show it is a societal, human problem. When sinful human beings are placed in power over others, abuses will happen. I don't care if it's in a church of if it's your uncle.

The point is, when comparing the church to these other organizations, is that the church isn't immune. It has been affected as well. But the numbers show, the church HAS taken steps to correct the problem. And in recent years the reported abuses have dwindled to an extremely low number. The catholic church has been out in front of this and I believe is the best equipped of all organizations at this point.

Yet the media continues to dredge up stuff from the past, and focus on the church. Meanwhile other organizations, schools and protestant churches have a much BIGGER problem with this, and haven't corrected it. Most of the abuses in the church happened in the past, when the church wasn't equipped to deal with it. So the church made mistakes. The church has corrected these mistakes. Yet the media keeps pointing fingers, and even making stuff up now about these problems going straight to the Pope. I don't care who you are, it's obvious that the media is not playing fair.

And of course, there are those who don't bother to find things out for themselves and rely on what the media tell them. So there are people who believe the problem is just as big as ever and that the church hasn't done anything to correct it, etc. Then those who do know the facts bring up these comparisons and instead of people looking at them for what they are, they are called out as exccuses and rationalizations. It feels, at some level, that it is a no-win situation.

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