European parliamentarian Rocco Buttiglione recently called on Catholics to strongly defend Pope Benedict XVI from media criticism. He noted that pedophilia among priests is “much lower than it is in any other professional sector,” and accused the media of “trying to scare families into thinking that it is dangerous for their children to be Catholic.”
During the 5th Conference of Catholics and Public Life, the Italian politician said the data from a study by the University of New York, which includes accusations against Catholic priests from the last 50 years in the U.S., shows that out of 4,392 accusations, “958 were cases of pedophilia, which led to 54 guilty verdicts.”
“In 50 years this equals one guilty verdict for pedophilia per year out of 109,000 Catholic priests in the United States. That is, one guilty verdict for every 2,000 priests.”
Consequently, he concluded, according to this study, the incidence of pedophilia “is much lower than it is in any other professional sector."
Buttiglione said it appears that those leading the campaign against the Pope and the Church have lumped together data from 50 years in order to “create panic among the people and get in the headlines for an attack on the Catholic Church, to which we must strongly respond, as it is unacceptable.”
“They are trying to scare families into thinking that it is dangerous for their children to be Catholic, which is absolute madness, and to give the impression that the Catholic Church does not live up to her principles,” he added.
Buttiglione strongly criticized priests who abuse children, but noted that if the offender were “a Hollywood star, people would come to his defense.”
Those who attack Benedict XVI, he said, didn’t have the courage to do the same to John Paul II “because of the prestige he had.” “But now, with the arrival of Benedict XVI, they have sought their revenge.”
For this reason, he called on the faithful to strongly defend the current Pontiff.