Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on an editorial in the Washington Post:
The October 26 editorial in the Washington Post did not give the Catholic Church the credit it deserves on how it has handled clergy sexual abuse.
We do not take issue with its criticism of the way the Vatican has dealt with former cardinal Theodore McCarrick—a full accounting has not been made public—but on matters closer to home the editorial is flatly wrong.
The editorial begins by saying offending clergy members are “often revealed by journalists, government authorities or victims and their advocates, but rarely by the church itself.” It cites by way of example the case of McCarrick. It was a bad choice.
It was Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, who is responsible for outing McCarrick. It was he who established the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, an initiative that was not foisted upon him by any outside agency or institution. When a person came forward alleging that McCarrick was an abuser, the case was taken seriously and the former cardinal was exposed—by one of his own.
If there is another institution, religious or secular, that has established a mechanism like the one started by Dolan, we do not know of it. It certainly does not exist in Hollywood or at CBS and NBC, nor, for that matter, in the public schools.
The editorial says “fresh allegations surface of rape, assault, molestation and other outrages.” It makes the reader think that the homosexual scandal is still ongoing. In fact, over the last decade the number of credible accusations made in any one-year period against approximately 50,000 members of the clergy has consistently been in the single digits.
For the Washington Post not to know how much progress has been made by the Catholic Church in combating the sexual abuse of minors is revealing. Is it so biased that it just assumes nothing has changed? It needs to hire competent researchers, preferably practicing Catholics.
Contact Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor: Fred.Hiatt@washpost.com