Catholic League president Bill Donohue points to an article in today’s New York Times as an example of its tendency to allow editorial commentary to creep into its hard news stories:

Rachel Donadio wonders whether the Vatican “will confront the failures in church leadership that allowed sexual abuse to go unpunished.” She adds that “the culture of the church was for decades skewed against public disclosure and cooperation with the civil authorities,” and that only now are the bishops required to report abuse to the authorities. She consistently refers to the problem as pedophilia.

Perhaps Ms. Donadio missed reading the Times story of April 10 on Leslie Lothstein, a psychologist who has treated about 300 priests. He says that “only a small minority were true pedophiles.” Correct. All the data show that most of the molesters have been homosexuals. 

Yes, most abusers went unpunished, but it is wrong to imply some sinister motive like “secrecy.” For example, the Murphy report on abuse in Dublin found that most bishops followed the advice of therapists—not canon law. In short, had Church law been followed, instead of listening to the prevailing psycho-babble, things might have been different. 

The idea that the Catholic Church is just now reporting cases of abuse is a red herring: no institution has a record of reporting abuse. Here is what Paul Vitello of the Timeswrote last October: “For decades, prosecutors in Brooklyn routinely pursued child molesters from every major ethnic and religious segment of the borough’s diverse population. Except one.” The exception was the Orthodox Jewish community, and this is because Orthodox Jews have “long [been] forbidden to inform on one another without permission from the rabbis who lead them.”

There is no law in most places mandating the reporting of any crime, and that is why fingering the Catholic Church smacks of bigotry.

We will not stop until the Times stops with its selective outrage.

Contact public editor Clark Hoyt:

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