Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on how the New York Times decides what’s newsworthy:
The New York Times has a story today about a gay activist who as a counselor learned about a case of homosexual statutory rape, but did not tell the boy to go to the authorities. Instead, he recommended the kid wear a condom. The man who gave this advice has been appointed by President Obama to be the new “Safe Schools Czar.” The story appears on p. 19. On the front page, above the fold, there is a story about a priest who had a consensual affair with a woman.
After a mid-western woman separates from her husband, she has an affair with a Franciscan priest. She gets pregnant and miscarries. They vow to “keep the relationship platonic,” but don’t. She gives birth to a boy. She signs a confidentiality agreement and the Franciscans fork over $85,000 to cover the costs of the birth, furniture for the baby, child support, legal fees, etc. The priest is sent for treatment. He gets out and the affair starts up again. The woman uses $38,000 of child support for a down payment on a house, the result of which is the money runs out before the boy is 18. She remarries. She gets divorced. She remarries. The Franciscans pay half of the boy’s college expenses, plus a stipend of almost $600 a month, until he is 21. The Franciscans pay 50 percent of her son’s cancer treatment expenses. She goes to New York with her lawyer husband for a one-week consultation regarding her son’s tumors. The Franciscans give them $1,000 to cover the trip. They stay in a New York hotel for three months, expecting the Franciscans to pony up again. They don’t. Hence, she breaks her confidentiality agreement and goes public.
There is a reason why this story about an irresponsible priest and an irresponsible woman merited 2,424 words on p. 1, and the story about the irresponsible gay activist turned “Schools Czar” merited 488 words on p. 19: the lead story was about ginning up public sentiment against priestly celibacy.
Celibacy causes priests to cheat the same way marriage causes spouses to cheat—it provides the opportunity but does not determine the conduct.