Around the time we caught CNSNews.com with clashing messages on the Catholic Church -- managing editor Michael W. Chapman repeating a bishop's claim that sex education is "CHILD ABUSE" vs. Bill Donohue's dismissing the severity of actual child abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy -- it suddenly got serious about the issue of sexual abuse in the church.
Chapman wrote in a Dec. 18 article about how "at least seven victims of clergy sexual abuse have filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court alleging that the Vatican and the Pope knew about many priests who were abusing young people but covered it up, shuffling the abusive priests around and ignoring the victims," adding: "Instances of bishops and pastors keeping silent about clerical sex abusers, not warning families or parishes, and constantly assigning (and reassigning) the abusers to youth ministries and youth sports programs are well-documented in the research of Dr. Leon Podles, author of Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church."
The next day, CNS published an op-ed by Janet Patterson, described in an editor's note as a Catholic woman "whose son Eric Patterson (1970-1999) reportedly was sexually abused multiple times by Rev. Robert K. Larson. Larson spent 5 years in jail for sexually abusing altar boys and died in 2014 at the age of 84; Eric Patterson died at age 29 after shooting himself in the head." Patterson wrote: "Let your diocese know how you feel about the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Be willing to support survivors in their difficult task of recovery. Hold diocesan church officials accountable for allowing perpetrators to continue molesting in parish after parish, excusing these actions by saying they received 'poor medical advice.'"
On Dec. 27, Chapman wrote about a report finding that "Since the 2018 release of a grand jury report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse, the dioceses of Pennsylvania have paid $84 million to 564 victims." He quoted Podles claiming that "unless American priests are uniquely sinful, there were something like 35,000 to 100,000 abusive priests worldwide with anywhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 victims."
But CNS undid all that public service by publishing another column by Donohue attacking those trying to hold the Catholic Church accountable over the abuse. He complained that an article noted "pedophile priests," retorting: "Wrong. Most of the abusers were homosexuals. This is indisputable." Actually, as we've documented, the people who actually investigated the abuse found this quite disputable, and Donohue is being dishonest again.
Donohue then targeted the victims themselves:
The second error is saying that "victims and their families" were "intimidated or shamed into silence," which is why they signed confidentiality agreements. No doubt some were. But many insisted on confidentiality. Saul never mentions this. Nor does he mention the fact that unlike Hollywood molesters, the Church has had a ban on such agreements for many years.
Donohue concluded with his usual complaint:
Like many practicing Catholics, I contribute to my parish, as well as to my diocese. When my diocese is hit with a lawsuit for past cases of abuse—most of the molesting priests are either dead or out of ministry—I want justice done. That means reasonable compensation for victims. It does not mean breaking the bank.
Therefore, any legal tactic that the diocese can use to limit its liability, is entirely justified. Not to do so would be to punish those who are counting on diocesan funding today (many of whom are sick, disabled, or poor) so that lawyers can skim a third of the cash right off the top for old cases of abuse.
As usual, it is the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church alone, that is under the microscope of reporters. We know why.
Because the Catholic Church alone had a systematic, widespread campaign of protecting abusers?