Archive of April 27, 2010

Catholic Church in Scotland urges voters to 'make faith count'

Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - In light of the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom next month, Catholic Church leaders in Scotland are hoping to combat “apathy” among voters and are urging the faithful to make their “faith count” at the ballot box.

“It is crucially important that apathy is not allowed to win in this election,” said Cardinal Keith O'Brien, president of Scotland's Bishops' Conference, last Thursday. “I hope Catholic voters will make the cross count by quizzing their candidates on the important moral matters which affect us and that they use the resources which the Bishops' Conference has provided to inform themselves on as wide a range of issues as possible.”

The Scottish prelate gave his remarks on the release of a general statement from bishops in Scotland, titled, “Make your faith count!” The election message will be made available to the Catholic faithful in all 500 parishes throughout the country.

Urging Catholics to consider what hangs in the balance this election, the bishops pointed out that the “political choices we face today are not the choices your parents and grandparents faced.”

“They would never have voted for any candidate who refused to protect unborn human life, who supported experimentation on human embryos, or planned to assist unfortunate people to commit suicide. They would never have voted for a candidate who would undermine marriage and family in the way that has happened in recent years with cross-party support. They would never have voted for candidates who rejoiced in same sex unions,” the bishops said.

Continuing the list of recent political decisions unfavorable to Catholics, the Scottish bishops wrote, “They would never have voted for candidates who would stop the Church offering adoption services. They would never have voted for candidates who were clearly hostile to the values they held dear. Your parents and grandparents voted for those they believed shared the same fundamental Christian values as they did. It is for us to do likewise to shape a society where the dignity of each individual and life itself is respected.”
“As Catholics we know the importance of protecting every human life and of the value that married family life gives to society,” the bishops added. “These values were once widely shared but times have changed. Many of those standing for election, of whatever party, do not share our basic principles and values.”

“That is why we say to you: when you vote, make your faith count. Vote with your faith to protect human life; to support marriage and the family; to protect religious freedom; to protect Catholic education. Vote with your faith, and uphold the right of conscience and religious freedom,” the Catholic bishops advocated.
“In urging you to let your faith count at the ballot box, we ask you to think carefully before you cast your vote. Which candidate displays values closest to yours? Which candidate will best respect and protect your religious freedom and your freedom of conscience? Which candidate do you trust most to do a good job for you and your community?”
“As your bishops, it is not our intention to tell you which party to vote for,” the prelates noted. “It is our duty to encourage you to engage with the political process and to vote for the candidate who best represents the values we, like our parents and grandparents before us, hold dear.”

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Archbishop Dolan: Catholics and Jews must work to preserve 'memory' of faith

New York City, N.Y., Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - In a recent ceremony commemorating Pope Benedict's visit to a synagogue during his U.S. visit in 2008, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York spoke on the importance of Catholic-Jewish relations, stressing that the two must focus on their commonality and work together to preserve the “memory” of the faith.

Archbishop Dolan gave his remarks at the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Park East Synagogue in New York City on April 22.  Discussing the drastically-improved status of Catholic-Jewish relations, the New York prelate said, it “should not be lost on us that a millennium ago, a century ago or even fifty years ago, these visits would have been unthinkable – even condemnable – in both Christian and Jewish circles.”

“How far our friendship has come, that our leaders can welcome each other with affection and respect into their very houses of worship!” he noted.

On the future relationship between Jews and Catholics, Archbishop Dolan addressed his “modest proposal,” underscoring the importance of both groups striving to keep memory and mutual concern alive in their interactions with each other.   

“Memory,” said the archbishop, is “a foundational element of our dialogue together; without it, we loose a sense of who we are, most especially in relation to each other.”

“Both of our traditions reverence memory,” he asserted. “'To forget' is disastrous, dangerous, and heretical. We both worry about an amnesia that seems a part of today’s existence, to live only for the now, unconscious of our roots, our foundations.”

“It is my hope that in the many years God may give me as Archbishop of New York, our Catholic-Jewish dialogue may be marked by a practice of 'memory' which never fails to hold us mutually accountable to the honesty and transparency demanded by the tragedy of the Holocaust, but also to a 'mutuality' of concern for each other which places our friendship first, and our grievances second. Our dialogue must never be reduced to one of exchanged grievances.”

“So many challenges again face both of our communities,” stressed the archbishop, who discussed mutual concern regarding “the protection of children from any kind of abuse or deprivation; the slow, but steady diminution of the importance of marriage as the keystone of family life, culture, and civilization itself; the continued marginalization of the poor, in particular of immigrants, refugees and the homeless on our streets; the denial of human dignity, seen almost everywhere in crimes of bias, hate, and discrimination.”

Archbishop Dolan also addressed the task of  “reclaiming of the importance of Sabbath rest and worship in a culture that tends to be frantic and function-oriented, placing value upon what we produce and do, rather than who we are.”

“Surely, we could learn both with and from each other when puzzling our way through what social scientists tell us about the religious behavior of our families, especially our young people,” he added. “It is chilling to read the results of the research of religious sociologists who soberly report that our young people feel less and less loyal to their inherited faith.”

“Can we not work together, then, for our own good and that of the society we hope to transform?” the archbishop asked. “Can we not imagine how our dialogue could assume the twin qualities of 'memory' and 'mutuality' for the sake of its own growth in a time when our combined strengths could be a light to all the peoples of the world?”

“I would hope that we can do so,” Archbishop Dolan continued before inviting religious leaders of both communities to further consider how to implement “such changes.”

Archbishop Dolan concluded his remarks by suggesting that Jews and Catholics “take a further step” in their relationship and  “'engage' each other actively, fully respectful of our identities and differences, yet come together in whatever convergences would help us to build up our relationship.”

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Cardinals’ dinner raises $1 million for Catholic University scholarship fund

Atlanta, Ga., Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - The Catholic cardinals of the United States raised about $1 million for the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Atlanta at the 21st American Cardinals Dinner last Friday.

Held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the dinner was attended by about 400 guests. Its proceeds benefit CUA scholarship funds.

The event was hosted by Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton D. Gregory and Msgr. David M. O’Connell, C.M., CUA president.

Archbishop Gregory was the principal celebrant at a 4 p.m. pre-dinner Mass held at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Visiting cardinals, bishops and clergy concelebrated the liturgy and Msgr. O’Connell served as the homilist.

Fr. O’Connell said he was “so grateful” to those who attended. “Our devotion to the mission of Catholic education has never been stronger at the university. Those who attend the dinner play a vital role in advancing that mission by supporting our deserving students who wish to receive an education at one of America's premier Catholic universities," Fr. O'Connell said, according to a university press release.

Presently serving cardinals in attendance were Archbishop Francis George of Chicago, Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Daniel DiNardo. They are also members of the CUA Board of Trustees.

Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York, and Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop emeritus of Detroit, were present as special guests, according to CUA.

Apostolic nuncio to the United States Archbishop Pietro Sambi attended the dinner. Also present were Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl, who is CUA chancellor and an alumnus, and Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron, chairman of the CUA Board of Trustees.

The American Cardinals Dinner, an annual black-tie event, is held in a different diocese or archdiocese each year. The 2010 dinner is the first held in Atlanta.

The event has been held in Houston, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Francisco, among other cities. Since its inauguration it has raised more than $25 million to support scholarships for CUA students.

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ND 88 attorney may subpoena Notre Dame officials, judge rules

South Bend, Ind., Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - The legal defense team for the 88 pro-life protesters arrested at the University of Notre Dame may now seek testimony from university officials after a judge’s ruling lifted a stay.

The protesters, called the ND88, were arrested for trespassing during their demonstrations against the May 2009 commencement speech of President Barack Obama, who was granted an honorary degree by the university.

St. Joseph County, Indiana Superior Court Chief Judge Michael P. Scopelitis lifted a stay order on defense lawyers. They may now seek testimony under oath from key decision makers in the arrest of the protesters. The lawyers may also subpoena documents revealing apparent inconsistencies in the treatment of the pro-life protesters compared with other protesting groups.

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, said the lifting of the stay was “very significant.”

"A Notre Dame alumni group, Sycamore Trust, recently reported that homosexual rights and anti-ROTC protesters received, at worst, mere slaps on the wrist for leading unauthorized protests on campus. We believe that through discovery we may well uncover evidence that the Notre Dame police engaged in 'viewpoint discrimination:' that the university singled out the ND88 for especially harsh treatment."

Judge Scopelitis also ruled that once the discovery process is completed, he may convene an evidentiary hearing to review the defendants’ “global” legal defenses before any individual trials.

Tom Dixon, an attorney defending the ND88, said this means the judge wants to be sure the defenses are presented in the “appropriate procedural vehicle.”

The Thomas More Society says it has urged Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., to request that the charges be dropped against the ND88, in the same way trespass charges were dropped against homosexual rights activists and anti-military protesters on the Notre Dame campus.

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Catholic global presence increasing, Vatican study reports

Vatican City, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican Publishing House released today a report on the Catholic Church's global presence, showing an increase in the Catholic population in 2008. Although the number of Catholics has risen globally, the study recorded a constant decline in priests, seminarians and non-ordained religious within Europe.

The recently released edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church compiled findings from 2000-2008, and documented that the number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.045 billion in 2000 to 1.166 billion in 2009, a growth of 11.54 percent.

Specifically in Africa, the Church grew by 33 percent, in Asia by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93. The number of Catholics in Europe remained generally stable throughout the nine year period, increasing only by 1.17 percent.

The Vatican yearbook also reported that the number of bishops in the world went up from 4,541 in 2000 to 5,002 in 2008, a growth of 10.15 percent.

Non-ordained religious fell from 55,057 in the year 2000 to 54,641 in 2008, with the strongest decline taking place in Europe and Oceania. The number of women religious stood  at 800,000 in 2000, but had dropped to 740,000 in 2008. In Africa and Asia, however, the number of women religious increased by 21 and 16 percent respectively.

While the amount of diocesan priests increased globally by 3.1 percent, the study showed that the number of priests was down by 3.04 percent. Europe, the yearbook said, showed a consistent overall decline in priests, representing 51 percent of the world's priests in 2000 yet in 2008, representing just 47 percent.

Although the number of students studying philosophy and theology at diocesan and religious seminaries increased globally from 110,583 in 2000 to more that 117,024 in 2008, Europe again saw a reduction in numbers. The Vatican study reported that the number of seminarians increased in Africa and Asia.

As reported earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity, most notably Europe and the United States.

The Holy Father has made the restoration of the Catholic faith in Europe one of the major efforts of his pontificate.

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Bishop resignations over abuse demonstrate Church’s 'zero tolerance,' explains prelate

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA/Europa Press) - Bishop Francisco Cases of the Canary Islands explained this week that the resignations of bishops involved in the sexual abuse of minors demonstrate the Church’s “zero tolerance” policy in dealing with the issue. 

“It is another example of the policy of clarity and zero tolerance that the Church has,” he said.  “It doesn't matter whether it is the Pope who brings it about (resignation) or the person in question.”  However, he continued, “it is more authentic when the person in question resigns after realizing what he has done.”

He stressed the need to be more aware of abuse statistics, not only within the Church, but in all parts of society, saying such data is “alarming.”

“It appears that 20 percent of adults today were subjected to sexual abuse when they were children or teens.  The 20 percent were not all abused by members of the Church but rather the vast majority were abused by those closest to them.”

Bishop Cases said the abuse is a social problem, and  lamented that the issue is being portrayed as an ecclesial one.  “This is a social issue of great magnitude and we must support children, teens and young people who have suffered sexual abuse, no matter by whom.  In the Church, we are giving a clear testimony of zero tolerance in these matters,” the bishop said.

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Abortion does not bring healing after rape, maintains Mexican woman who chose life

Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) -

In an interview with Mexican columnist Sergio Sarmiento, Lianna Rebolledo, who was raped at the age of 13 but chose to carry her child to term, explained that “abortion is not the solution” to an unplanned pregnancy, even “in cases such as rape.”

Rebolledo said in the interview that during her upcoming visit to the city of Cancun to promote the Forum for the Defense of Life, she hopes to meet the 11-year-old Mexican girl who was raped and is currently 19 weeks pregnant. The girl has been the object of intense pressure from feminist groups to undergo an abortion, but has resisted saying that she understands “a life is growing in her womb.”

Carlos Polo of the Population Research Institute said the girl’s case is the modus operandi of abortion supporters in Latin America who seek to legalize the procedure at any cost.  Rebolledo’s testimony shows that these kinds of situations are not resolved by abortion and that young girls need to be protected and guaranteed a chance to grow and mature in a safe environment.

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Accusations against Mexican cardinal are false, asserts archdiocese

Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - At the conclusion of Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Mexico City, the president of the College of Catholic Lawyers, Armando Martinez Gomez, held a press conference in which he presented a detailed report with documentation showing the accusations against Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera covering up abuse are false.

Joaquin Aguilar Mendez has repeatedly claimed he was raped by former priest Nicolas Aguilar Rivero and that Cardinal Rivera covered up the abuse.

According to the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news service, armed with sworn testimony from the plaintiffs as well as medical records of Joaquin Aguilar Mendez and Nicolas Aguilar Rivero, Martinez explained that  “Joaquin Aguilar was never raped,” and that “his calumnious statements against Cardinal Norberto Rivera lack all credibility.”

Martinez decided it was necessary to make comments in light of a new lawsuit filed against Cardinal Rivera in U.S. court, and also after hearing  the “unfortunate” statements made by Joaquin Aguilar on April 20, when he said, “I will not rest until I see the downfall of the cardinal…We want Rivera Carrera’s head.”

Martinez said he is determined to “expose the lies of Joaquin Aguilar, who has offered at least six different versions” of the abuse he experienced.

The head of the College of Catholic Lawyers distributed copies of the 24-page report to those attending the press conference. 

Since October of 2006, Joaquin Aguilar, together with the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests “has not ceased in his campaign of hatred, defamation and calumnies” against Cardinal Rivera, arguing that he covered up the abuse by Nicolas Aguilar. 

The report shows that Joaquin Aguilar gave six different sworn statements to officials both in Mexico and the United States.  It also includes medical reports from September 5, 1994, shortly after he was supposedly raped, which conclude he did not show any signs of injury.

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Weigel rips Hans Kung on Pope attack, waits for real response

Washington D.C., Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) - George Weigel, who recently took the dissenting theologian Fr. Hans Kung to task for his attacks against Pope Benedict, said he would welcome a response from the priest “in which the issues were truly engaged.” But, the scholar qualified, “another Swiss volcanic eruption wouldn't serve much purpose.”

In an April 16 open letter to the Catholic bishops of the world, published in the Irish Times and other venues, Kung criticized Pope Benedict’s engagement of Protestants, Jews and Muslims; his support for Catholic teaching on birth control and condoms; and his approach to the Second Vatican Council.

Kung also commented specifically on the sexual abuse controversy, saying:

“There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005).”

George Weigel responded to this in an April 21 letter of his own, published on the website of the journal First Things.

When asked by CNA last Friday why he felt compelled to respond to Kung's letter, Weigel said that he was “struck by the extraordinary vitriol of the article and by its misstatements of fact, both of which required a response.” Weigel added that he would welcome a response from Kung “in which the issues were truly engaged,” but that “another Swiss volcanic eruption wouldn't serve much purpose.”

On April 21, he called Kung’s charge against Pope Benedict “a tissue of falsehoods.” The theologian’s comment, Weigel said, was “manifestly ignorant” of the fact that sexual abuse cases were not under then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s oversight until 2001.

This ignorance forfeits “any claim to be taken seriously on this, or indeed any other matter involving the Roman Curia and the central governance of the Catholic Church.”

Weigel noted his own criticisms of the mishandling of abuse cases by individual bishops and by Vatican authorities before then-Cardinal Ratzinger began to press for reforms.

Judging from this experience, Weigel said Kung’s description of Cardinal Ratzinger’s role was “ludicrous to anyone familiar with the relevant history.”

That description was also belied by “the experience of American bishops who consistently found Ratzinger thoughtful, helpful, deeply concerned about the corruption of the priesthood by a small minority of abusers, and distressed by the incompetence or malfeasance of bishops.”

He especially criticized the Irish Times editors who subtitled Kung’s letter with the claim the Pope was “directly responsible for engineering the global cover-up of child rape perpetrated by priests, according to this open letter to all Catholic bishops.”

Weigel said this was a “grotesque falsification of the truth” and “shameful.”

He suggested that Kung owes Pope Benedict XVI a public apology for “a calumny that I pray was informed in part by ignorance (if culpable ignorance).”

“I assure you that I am committed to a thoroughgoing reform of the Roman Curia and the episcopate,” Weigel’s letter concluded. “But there is no path to true reform in the Church that does not run through the steep and narrow valley of the truth. The truth was butchered in your article in the Irish Times. And that means that you have set back the cause of reform.”

Fr. Hans Kung served as an expert at the Second Vatican Council with Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. He is now a well-known dissenter from Catholic teaching on many points and has been barred from teaching Catholic theology.

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Immigration is 'an opportunity for society,' note Spanish bishops

Madrid, Spain, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the Council of European Bishops' Conferences opened the 8th Congress on Immigration in Malaga, the Spanish bishops remarked that immigration “is not a problem, a threat or an invasion, but rather an opportunity for the Church and for society.”

Citing comments by the director of the Secretariat of the Bishops’ Committee on Immigration, Jesuit Father Jose Luis Pinilla, the bishops called for a new perspective in response to the alarm caused by immigration.

Fr. Pinilla explained that immigration is “an opportunity” as it “improves the freedom and lives of people.”  He then underscored the importance that the Church extend hospitality to welcome immigrants and lamented the tendency to “exclude and criminalize immigration.”  The priest said that action is needed on a three-fold level: “in the countries of origin, in the transitional countries, and in destination countries.” 

“We all lose when we adopt an exclusionary societal model.”

While the Church is carrying out important work in this area, Fr. Pinilla continued, “more could be done.”

The congress on immigration began Tuesday with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Jesus Esteban Catala of Malaga.

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Catholics in Cyprus full of expectation for Pope’s visit

Rome, Italy, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA) -

In preparation for the Pope’s apostolic visit to Cyprus this June, the Cypriot communications team for the visit has launched a new website to both prepare for the visit and report on it as it happens.

The Pope’s journey will take place from June 4-6. Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Cyprus will be the first official papal visit to the island, which lies in the Mediterranean Sea south of Turkey. The Italian bishops' news agency SIR reports that the visit is being highly anticipated within the Catholic community. There are between 7,000 and 13,000 Roman Catholics on the island and about 1,000 Maronite Catholics.

The website dedicated to the visit,, is a partner to that of the Maronite Eparchy of Cyprus.

On the site, viewers can learn about entry requirements, the languages spoken in Cyprus, the local currency, transportation and the medical system. Greek and Turkish are the predominant languages on the island, though English is spoken widely and French and German are readily spoken by those within the tourist industry. Statistics on the local Catholic community, as well as biographical information on the Pope are also available.

“The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus will be a great opportunity to promote human and Christian principles and values, based on freedom, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace,” declares the site’s welcome page.

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Oklahoma legislature overrides governor's vetoes of two pro-life bills

Oklahoma City, Okla., Apr 27, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Supermajorities in both houses of the Oklahoma legislature have voted to override the governor’s vetoes of two measures restricting abortion. One law requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of her unborn child before obtaining an abortion, while another would protect physicians from “wrongful birth” lawsuits.

The veto override for the first bill passed 81-14 and the override for the second passed 84-12 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The Senate overrode the vetoes in two separate 36-12 votes, The Oklahoman reports.

Each of the bills first passed the state Senate one vote short of the three-quarters majority needed to override a veto.

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, said the ultrasound legislation was flawed because it did not exempt victims of rape and incest, the Associated Press says. He also said the laws would likely be overturned by the courts as unconstitutional.

Rep. Dan Sullivan, the author of the “wrongful birth” legislation, said his measure prevents a doctor from being sued based on the opinion that a child would have been better off if he or she had been aborted, The Oklahoman says.

Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Moore) defended the law requiring an ultrasound, saying the procedure is often done prior to an abortion to determine an unborn child’s size and weight.

“And it's done again after the murder of that child to make sure they didn't leave any of it in the womb," Sykes noted.

House Speaker Chris Benge (R-Tulsa) also defended the legislation.

"We must move to stop the degradation of human life seen in recent years and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves," he said, according to the Associated Press.

The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) claimed that the measures were among the strictest in the U.S.

Keri Parks, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma City, urged the Senate to uphold the vetoes.

Prior to the votes to override the veto, an Oklahomans for Life legislative alert noted that the ten Democrats who voted for the pro-life bills were being subjected to “intense pro-abortion pressure” to switch their position. The pro-life group asked Oklahomans to thank the senators for their support.

Similar pro-life legislation had been vetoed and overridden in 2008, but an Oklahoma County judge struck down the bill on the grounds that it unconstitutionally contained multiple subjects, the Associated Press reports.

Other Oklahoma pro-life laws signed by Gov. Henry include laws requiring clinics to post signs stating a woman cannot be forced to have an abortion and legislation outlawing abortion based on an unborn child’s sex.

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Cardinal Levada says media bias, lawyers skewing coverage of scandal

Vatican City, Apr 27, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, granted an interview to PBS in which he analyzed the ongoing sex abuse scandal. Saying that the Church was caught off guard by the wave accusations, he pointed to the high profile government report in Ireland, media bias and lawyers as contributors to painting an unfair and unbalanced portrait of the Church.

PBS’s Margaret Warner noted in her interview, set to air on April 27, that “We've had people say to us that this is the worst crisis the church has faced in a couple hundred years,” and asked the cardinal if he concurred.

“It's a big crisis. I think no one should try to diminish that,” Cardinal Levada told PBS. “I think the crisis is particularly grave because priests are ordained to be good shepherds ... this is anything but being a good shepherd when you abuse children and you violate their innocence … So this is a crisis, if you will, that I think caught most of us by surprise,” he affirmed.

Noting that the American Church had been through the entire ordeal eight years ago, Warner wondered why recent events were surprising and why the Vatican had not been more prepared to deal with them.

“Well I think that there are two things involved in the current media attention,” said Cardinal Levada. “I think one is the situation in Ireland, where the report on the Archdiocese of Dublin triggered a lot of attention not only in Ireland but in Europe and then I think throughout the world.”

“The second frankly, I think, is, if I will say, a certain media bias,” Cardinal Levada stated. “I don't want to scapegoat anybody or have a conspiracy theory but I do think that the American media in particular, the question has been driven by information given by the plaintiff's attorneys who are looking for ways to involve the pope somehow.” He also noted that the media coverage has been rather unfair and hasn’t given a “balanced picture, a picture in context.”

“I haven't seen in the reporting much attention given to what the United States church has done,” he added. He focused on the “very concrete action” that the American bishops took when they were the focus of constant media attention in 2002.

“When you see the programs that have been developed, the educational programs for parents, for children, for all church workers, including priests and teachers, there is a real success story that I personally (think) we ought to be proud of and say this also can be a model,” the CDF prefect told PBS. “We're not proud that we had to create it but it can be a model for public schools, Boy Scouts, some of these other groups we're seeing now,” he added.

According to Cardinal Levada, when he was ordained a bishop in 1983, he had never heard of a case of a priest abusing a child. “But in what we've seen reported, it was going on. It was going on behind closed doors. Nobody was reporting it,” he explained. “And it took us a lot of time I think to understand how to deal with this.” He called the process of reacting to the first reports of priestly sexual abuse “learning by doing.”

In response to a question about the Church's credibility being undermined by the surfacing of new accusations, the cardinal noted that many abuse victims have been living with what happened to them for 20, 30, or 40 years, and that there is “no way you can tell a victim to come forward.”

At the same time, the American cardinal pointed once again to the U.S. bishops Dallas charter from 2002 as a model and said he continues to offer his assistance to his brother bishops around the world.

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