The episode of the CBS show “CSI: Miami” that aired last night revolved around a priest who learns that a boy has been abused by his father (at first the priest was suspected as the abuser). The priest tries to convince the boy to go to the police, but the boy refuses. The boy’s mother subsequently kills the priest, blaming him for not protecting her son.
On today’s CBS.com website, there is a survey question on the home page of “CSI: Miami.” It asks, “Do you think Catholic priests should be obligated to inform the authorities when one of their parishioners confesses to a crime?”
Commenting on this is Catholic League president William Donohue:
“Last night’s episode of ‘CSI: Miami’ shows that Hollywood still loves to give sermons on Catholicism. ‘Who would want to kill a priest?’ was perhaps the most revealing question of the evening. Asked by a detective, it was answered by one of his colleagues, ‘Nowadays, anyone.’ Worse than the show, however, is the invidious way in which CBS.com has sought to manipulate public opinion against Catholicism.
“The survey question is deceitful. Though last night’s episode did not show the boy confessing to the priest in the confessional, the use of the word ‘confesses’ in the poll is designed to conjure up images of the confessional. This is Catholic baiting. There are practices in virtually every world religion that non-adherents might find unintelligible—or even unwise—but no one at CBS is going to invite them to register their sentiments in an online survey. The purpose of the survey question is clear: to rally public opinion against the First Amendment shield that guarantees confidentiality between priest and penitent.
“Why not a survey question on the merits of protecting the confidential relationship between a journalist and his source? That, of course, would be hitting too close to home for the home-grown psephologists at CBS. Better to hit on Catholics. Remember, ‘nowadays anyone’ might want to kill a priest. Or at least impugn his religion.”