The attacks on the Catholic Church are running at a fever pitch this spring, but so is our resolve: we are confronting the foes of Catholicism head-on, scoring impressive results.
Our full-page ad in the New York Times on April 11, which also ran in the April 17 edition of the Chicago Tribune, elicited a tremendous response. While we are not here to defend wrongdoing by those on our side, we are ready, willing and able to defend our side when they are unfairly maligned. And they have been—in spades.
The survey on clergy abuse for 2010 turned up a total of seven credible (but not proven) allegations against over 40,000 priests. There were a whole lot more allegations, but they dated back decades. We know something is fishy when there is a 42 percent increase in allegations found to be unsubstantiated, or false, in one year.
Many in the media continue to put the worst possible face on this issue, while underplaying the good news. Most important, they never seem interested in doing a story on all the priests who have been found innocent, many of whom have had to suffer the indignity of having their good name dragged through the mud.
There is no lawyer more out-of-control than Minnesota zealot Jeffrey Anderson. In the matter of a week, he managed to sue the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the Vatican: he brought a “wrongful death” suit in a case where a man killed himself a year after his accusations were found wanting; and Anderson tried to hold the pope culpable for an alleged incident dating back to 1960 in Wisconsin!
Then there is the utter hypocrisy. Almost all of the media outlets in this country do not have a “zero tolerance” policy of their own regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace, some have editorialized against these policies when applied to the schools. The fundamental problem with “zero tolerance” is the tendency to lump minor infractions with serious violations.
We were also happy to expose SNAP, the professional victims’ group: it turns out that the same group that is constantly condemning the Church for not doing enough about sexual abuse was working with a psychiatrist who was knee-deep into child pornography. He is now in prison.
We will continue to fight this issue of unfairly smearing the clergy. The cherry-picking over old cases has got to end. While the foes of the Church may intimidate others, they only embolden us. The tide is turning, and they know it.