On March 25, the New York Times published a now thoroughly discredited front-page story suggesting that Joseph Ratzinger, while prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had willfully impeded sanctions against a clerical sexual abuser in Milwaukee who had preyed on the deaf children in his care.
Taking that date, and that calumny against Benedict XVI, as an arbitrary American ground zero in the latest round of assaults depicting the Catholic Church as a Rome-based global criminal conspiracy of perverts and their enablers, where do things stand, two and a half weeks into what at first seemed poised to become a scandal as devastating as the Catholic Church in America’s Long Lent of eight years ago?
It’s not 2002.During the Long Lent, the press played an important role in dragging into the light of day awful things the Church had failed to confront, or had confronted ineptly. The shame of that period still stings, as do the wounds suffered by victims. Yet 2010 is not 2002, and that is in large measure due to 2002.
Despite the ignorance and tendentiousness displayed by too many journalists and commentators in recent weeks (including Catholic commentators seeking another opportunity to revive the Revolution That Never Was-or, in the case of Patrick J. Buchanan, to revive the Golden Age That Never Was), the facts are slowly getting out, thanks in part to the unprecedented studies and audits authorized by the bishops of the United States in the wake of the Long Lent.
Reasonable people whose perceptions are not warped by the toxin of anti-Catholicism or who are not pursuing other (often financially-driven) agendas now recognize that the Church in the U.S. and Canada has bent enormous efforts . . . Read the whole article HERE.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.