The media’s sex-abuse double standard

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has consistently called out the media for biased reporting on this issue, believing that hatred for the Church is at the heart of much of the unfair coverage. He has particularly pointed out the failure of the New York media to report on abuse by ministers of other religions, particularly by Jewish rabbis. Clearly, the Catholic Church is being singled out beyond other religious congregations.

There is no doubt that the media has helped the Church to initiate badly needed reforms in priestly formation and child protection by shining light on the problem of priestly sexual abuse. At the end of the day, however, the media’s double standard of coverage all boils down to the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and homosexual sex acts. Religious institutions that fail to take strong stances on such issues (for example, most branches of Judaism) do not undergo the scrutiny the Catholic Church does. The media would serve the public much better, and help to protect more children, if they ditched the double standard.

John Gerardi is a student at Notre Dame Law School. He writes on topics relating to religion and society.