Friday, October 30, 2009

Child Abuse: Bash the Catholic Church but respect 'religious sensitivies' of other religious groups

This from Zenit.
New York Busy With "National Pastime"
Archbishop Dolan Laments Anti-Catholicism on His Blog
NEW YORK, OCT. 29, 2009 ( Baseball is not America's only pastime, according to the archbishop of New York. Anti-Catholicism is another, and it's as prevalent as ever.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan reflected on anti-Catholicism in a post on his blog today, offering his readers an article that was rejected by the New York Times.

He contended that it "is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime."

"Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as 'the deepest bias in the history of the American people.' [...] 'The anti-semitism of the left,' is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic 'the last acceptable prejudice,'" the archbishop noted.

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He then cited four articles appearing in just over two weeks in the New York Times.

The archbishop wrote: "On Oct. 14, 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 40 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. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize 'religious sensitivities,' and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases 'internally.'

"Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so ... but I can criticize this kind of 'selective outrage.'"

"On Oct. 16," the archbishop continued, "Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous and indefensible.

"However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation-genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention."


Archbishop Dolan clarified that anti-Catholicism is hardly limited to the pages of the New York Times.

"Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues," he said.

The prelate went on to note inaccurate comments made by a Congressman regarding the Church's stance on health care reform, and a bill in the New York state legislature that will cost Catholic schools thousands of dollars.

"The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it," Archbishop Dolan said. "All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be 'rained out' for good." "I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath," the prelate added. "Then again," he quipped, "yesterday was the Feast of St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes."

Full text of Archbishop Dolan's article.


  1. My heart breaks when I think of the terror and pain suffered by the innocent children raped by priests of all denominations. I don’t think that as Christians and humans, we should shout down the few voices that speak out for these innocents. We should be ashamed of the tacit roll we continue to play in the perpetration of this horror.

  2. Ian

    Of course you are right, and the Archbishop makes the very same point. But the point is the hypocrisy somewhat partial attitude of 'public opinion' in this matter.


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