Pope Benedict and the Church are not being treated fairly in the media coverage of the sexual abuse scandal because his teachings disagree with the relativistic and individualistic culture of today, said Cardinal Ennio Antonelli this week.
"It's evident that it is an attack not only against the Pope, but also and especially against the Catholic Church as authoritative moral reference of our world today," said Cardinal Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Foglio on Wednesday.
There are various elements that show "clearly a militant 'information' against the Church," the cardinal asserted. Citing examples of this pattern, he specifically alluded to the "tone" and "tenacity" of the accusations, the re-use of past cases that were already public as current news, the lack of statistics in reports and the promotion of the idea that pedophilia only exists within the clergy and not as "an enormously widespread vice in society."
In order "to darken the image of the Church and compromise its credibility," he explained, "it's logical that they seek to strike the Pope in person, even if the firmness and coherence of his commitment against certain criminal behaviors has always been known."
Cardinal Antonelli told Il Foglio that while he recognizes the "profound suffering" of the victims, the scandal of offending priests' "lack of loyalty to the Lord" and the negative effects of abuses on the image of the Church, he also regrest the way that the scandal is "conditioned by the media."
Behind the media response, said the cardinal, is the fact that the Holy Father's message severely "wounds" the dominant mentality of society.
A "strong contrast" exists between the two sides, Cardinal Antonelli explained. On the one hand, you have "the teaching of Jesus Christ and of the Church on love, sexuality, matrimony, the family (and) respect for every human life."
On the other hand, the cardinal continued, is "the relativistic and individualistic culture that provokes the disintegration of the family, reduces love to sexual satisfaction and egotistical sentimentality without commitment and without sacrifice for the good of the other, sustains the equality of very different forms of cohabitation, promotes the exclusively recreational exercise of sexuality (and) favors the practice of abortion and demands its recognition as a right."
The Pope, observed the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, "clearly emphasizes the objective truth of the good, moral norms and their meaning and value for the authentic human growth of people and of society" and in doing so he "unmasks the idols and false values of the dominant culture."
Benedict XVI puts us "on guard against illusions and dangers," the prelate stated.
"This," concluded Cardinal Antonelli, "in many environments doesn't procure him sympathy and applause."