Rome, Italy, Mar 31, 2010 / 14:31 pm
In a statement released on the Vatican website, Cardinal William J. Levada charged that the recent media attacks on the Holy Father by the New York Times concerning sex abuse within the Church are “deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness” that American readers have come to expect from major media outlets.
Cardinal Levada, who is the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), began his remarks by addressing a recent New York Times article by senior columnist Laurie Goodstein which leveled charges against the Vatican's handling of a Milwaukee sex abuse case. The prelate also took issue with an accompanying editorial which echoed Goodstein's perspective.
“I am not proud of America's newspaper of record, the New York Times,” Cardinal Levada wrote.“Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting,” stressed the cardinal, who then discussed what he found to be most troubling in Goodstein's March 24 article.
Cardinal Levada recounted that in her report, Goodstein asserted that “newly unearthed files” have shown that the Vatican, in particular then-Cardinal Ratzinger, failed to respond appropriately to the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, a Milwaukee priest who abused some 200 deaf children in an archdiocesan school from 1950 to 1974. Goodstein charged that the future Pope, who was then head of the CDF, failed to respond to letters from Archbishop Rembert Weakland, head of the Milwaukee Archdiocese at the time, informing the CDF of the abuse. Goodstein also claimed that the CDF “halted” Fr. Murphy's canonical trial.