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.

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  • tmore

    The author’s point is a valid one: there is a double-standard. I commend him for writing about it, because it is a difficult thing to address, being a point of intersection of many, many things. The situation involves a break-down on various levels. Certainly, the bishops did a horrible job handling the offenders. Why? Because they turned to science. The advice of the day in the field of psychology was that their response (simply tranferring a priest) was enough. Thankfully, our understanding of offenders, behavior, etc. has progressed from that level. The offenders themselves enacted a break-down on the legal or canonical level–a vow celibacy is a vow to refrain from any sexual activity. Most importantly, the moral break-down with the grave sins of violence to innocent children and the pursuing of sexual pleasure outside of marriage.
    As I understand it, the author is not blaming gay men at all. Individuals, of course, are responsible for their individual actions. But it was the bishops and seminaries who admitted and ordained men with very strong homosexual tendencies who set up these men for failure, willing putting them in an occasion of sin and putting these young men at risk. Society in general was also not as conscious or protective against homosexual abuse and there were trepasses of appropriate boundaries. Men and boys were generally considered safe with other males. At the same time, the idea of human freedom was under attack. Divorce and affairs became more commonly known and, slowly, more socially acceptable. Thus, the notion that “I have to do what I feel and do not have a choice” began to overshadow the notion that “I have free will and can choose my actions.” All these factors and more brought about the majority of the abuse cases, corresponding with the sexual revolution.
    It is a problem also of data. At the time of the John Jay study, and perhaps even now, the Church was the only institution/corporation to submit itself to an intensive study in this regard. The Church has responded more quickly and aggressively to the situation than other groups. If this response is not satisfactory, short of travelling back in time, what should she be expected to do?

    • Joshua R

      The fact that pederasty is even mentioned as a cause confirms that they were never celibate. They were molesting children when the Church was started. It was a Greek practice. How could a religion claim to be an Abrahamic religion when it was founded on the Greek practice of pederasty. Everything about their religion is Greek. The Old Testament states Abraham wasn’t supposed to practice any of the rituals of the religions around them and that would have been one of them. What’s interesting is how many of the Abrahamic religions are practicing or have always been practicing ritualistic sex with children. At least one of the offenders asked the kid if he wanted to get closer to God. What’s even more entertaining is the fact that society listens to these men about parenting and sex (condom usage, sexuality etc) when they have no idea what it is to be a real father, but seem to capitalize the F in their name thinking that makes them suitable. The Pope deflects the blame when it is entirely their fault and as a result homosexuals that practice same sex adult partnerships get killed across the globe because he directs the blame on to them. He makes all of his followers hostile.

  • Joshua R

    They’re raping children because they think that the mystery of the “Secret of God” is that he has sex with children. Society’s refusal to see the difference between consensual adult partnerships and child rape shows how ignorant this entire planet is. But then what do you expect when they listen to a man that leads a church that didn’t decide that child molestation is a “grave sin” until 2010.

    The Pope has at least at one point said that the scandal was a hold over from pederasty…indicating that contrary to what everyone wants to believe, they have always done it. I would have to assume that the reason there aren’t cases from before the 1950’s is because parents told their children not to talk about it because they didn’t believe them (people who make comments like “alleged”)…much like a lot of people today (like the writer of the article). The Priests think they are God and can take whatever they want. And the reason that the other churches are experiencing the same problem is because they broke away from the Catholic Church which was set up to push them into the Priesthood to have sex with children (pederasty). The reason that child molestation is more common amongst homosexuals is because society makes them confused. They are so stupid. The fact that the Church was founded on pederasty proves that they lied from the start. They were never celibate!!! They were child molesters. Their congregation refuses to speak up against him because they worship the Pope. They lift the Priests up, that’s why they get offended every time someone speaks up against him. The guy is a monster. 13 children committed suicide in Belgium. Before that was made public, the Pope reprimanded the priest that worked with the authorities. After it became public, the Pope issued an apology. I don’t know about anyone else, but that would seem to indicate that he was more sorrowful for the fact that it was made public than he was for the fact that 13 kids were stripped of their innocence, had their hearts ripped out, deprived of ever having a chance to know God, never having a chance for spirituality. It would be nice if people would start to realize that they leaked that crap into other churches and society, but all of the Christians are too proud to admit that they might be at fault in some way. It’s funny. You hear Christians talk about how the spiritual is dangerous, but they have no spirit. And the spiritual may be dangerous, but their religion is disgusting.

  • Carl Spackler

    First off, if the author believes in defending the church so strongly, why doesn’t he become a priest? Can’t give up the dames, huh? There’s your real problem, trying to fight the 2nd strongest drive in human nature. There just aren’t a lot of Protestant assaults reported because the LSM loves Pat Robertson so much? Weak argument. Look to the religion. It has design flaws.

  • RepublicanTim

    The author of this article is obviously brain washed, and I feel bad for him. He probably could have been an intelligent person had he not drank the kool aid. He would have you believe that it is more likely that the media and DA’s office is conspiring to hide evidence of public schools protecting pedophile teachers, than it is that the church has been hiding and protecting pedophiles. Who lets this stuff get printed ? This article belongs down here with the comments, not published.

  • cwgmpls

    You’re right. The sex abuse is caused the the presence of gay clergy, and the ongoing church cover-up has not been a problem at all. It is all the gays’ fault. That is why the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Metropolitan Community Church, which have allowed openly gay people to serve as clergy for years, are so rife with child sex abuse.

  • mainiac

    It’s about the cover up everyone. The reason the scandal garnered so much attention is the cover up of decades of abuse and lack of contrition for so so long. I do not know about statistics of other professions with child abuse, but I do not believe there was such large scale institutional denial elsewhere.
    Blaming gay men is a red herring. Let’s blame straight men as a whole for child abuse of girls and boys since the vast majority of all abuse of children and adolescents are perpetrated by them.