Media attention to sex scandal is not about protecting children, argues Lopez


In an analysis by Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review Online, she argues that the Associated Press coverage of the Church's sexual abuse scandal is about more than “protect[ing] children and bring[ing] justice to pedophile priests.”

Lopez’s piece begins by referring to an April 18 article run in the Washington Post which takes its information from a PBS interview with Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The AP article, however, “simplifies and caricatures the Church — teachings, governance, and people — and ignores a key element of the scandals that has to be acknowledged,” she writes.

By using terms such as, “mea culpa” and “giant pep rally” to describe an expected papal apology at the conclusion of the Year for Priests next month, says Lopez, the AP is being coy, derogatory, and condescending. “The scandal, in the AP book, is about 'protect[ing] children and bring[ing] justice to pedophile priests.' But it’s about more than that.”

While Lopez acknowledges that abuse did take place involving priests, “there’s a related scandal involving dissent on sexual morality in the Church.”

She goes on to explain that an accurate portrait “of what has happened in the Catholic Church in the last few decades cannot ignore the impact the so-called sexual revolution has had on the Church, which was far from immune from the chaos, despite warnings and guidance. But you won’t read about that in the mainstream media, because the mainstream media would be happy to foment dissent on sexual morality in the Church.”

Citing former Mayor of New York Ed Koch, who recently wrote that “continuing attacks by the media on the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have become manifestations of anti-Catholicism,” Lopez notes that one of the most important things to know about a scandal affecting the Church is that it always involves a Catholic not being faithful in his or her actions. She urges the Church, both clerics and laity, to remain true to the Church’s teachings. “Fidelity is the answer. Surrender is not,” she says.

The Catholic Church, as Cardinal Levada pointed out, has taken steps to keep “sick, pathological priests preying on children and teenagers.” And as Lopez notes, “The Catholic Church is protecting children today. The Catholic Church is also, as she has long done, providing opportunities for children and literally saving children's lives.”

However, since “for much of the media, this isn’t just about protecting children from pedophiles,” Catholics and the Church must not give in to the culture but rather, they must remain steadfast and full of courage in defending Catholic moral principles, Lopez asserts.

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