Monday, March 25

Michael Medved phones it in with a column on "Catholic-bashing" and the coverage of the Current Situation.

He begins by quoting a researcher who says

"The best data we have is that approximately 5 percent of priests have a predilection toward minors," which is lower than the 8 percent in the general population.

Do you believe that? I don't. I don't believe that a whopping 8 percent of the population is "sexually attracted to children." Current estimates tell us that about five percent of the population is homosexual. Are you trying to tell me that the percentage of child predators in the population is higher than the percentage of homosexuals? No way. And no way is almost TEN percent of the population leaning towards child sexual predation.

Which takes us to the second point. We're supposed to feel good that 5 percent of priests have this prediliction? That's supposed to soothe us? Shouldn't it be like....I don't know...ZERO PERCENT????????

So, Medved continues, if the problem is widespread, and exists in other religious groups besides the Catholic Church, why the focus on the Catholic Church?

Gotta be bias. It's because the Church is big, and a powerful voice for traditional morality. And so on. In the face of that, he maintains, the "media" is going to do what it can to tear the Church down, and with great glee.

Well. I do know that sexual crimes and sins aren't limited to Catholic clergy. But I also know that the stories we are hearing are not being created by the media. Sure, media attention plays a part in the timing of these events, and this, like anything else, is subject to the media's pack mentality in pursuing the Flavor of the Month, but the fact is, cases are coming to light, sometimes because the media digs them up, but more often because dioceses themselves have been forced to finally take action against priests and victims have felt safety in numbers - that now it's finally okay to go public with their pain and anger.

And I'm sorry. There is a legitimate story here about hypocrisy. And of course anti-Catholics enjoy it all very much, but that doesn't make the story less true. It is hypocritical for an institution to preach morality in public and practice and protect immorality in private. It is hypocritical for an institution to punish some who violate norms like the non-annulled divorced and remarried or the priests who leave openly and honestly, to marry, and then to coddle others who also violate norms and worse. Yes, it is hypocritical.

And do you know what I say? If Bill Donohue of the Catholic League isn't bleating about it, it's probably okay. and so far, with the exception of a couple of very specific complaints about a cartoon here and a column here. Donohue and the League have stayed quiet as the media has done its unpleasant, but necessary work.

The last thing we need now is whiny complaints about media bias and smear campaigns, from columnist like Medved (who's not Catholic, I know) or from parties within the Church. Wrong has been done. The best way to avoid negative press is to try mighty hard to avoid doing negative things. Clean house, do penance, and live out the Gospel. But don't, for heaven's sake, start striking a victim pose. Leave that role to the people who earned it: the real victims. Remember them?

Spring in Indiana. Snow. Lots of it. Kids home from school. Work? We'll try, but....

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