Just the facts: Articles on the present crisis of sex abuse and the Church


Following are links to articles relevant to sorting out the present crisis.

Toward a Gospel witness: Confronting child abuse - Daniel Cere - Homiletic & Pastoral Review

The Church's response to this evolving crisis has been, at the very least, disturbing.

Pope-bishop relationship key in sex abuse defense - AP

The pope appoints bishops, issues rules bishops are supposed to follow and accepts their resignations. Bishops take a vow of obedience to the pontiff and can't switch jobs without his approval.

'Faithful and holy priests don't abuse people' - National Post

A conversation with Roman Catholic theologian and commentator George Weigel.

'Even a Tiny Flame Lifts the Heavy Lid of Night' - Father Thomas Rosica, CSB - Headline Bistro

A reflection on the sex abuse scandal.

A first step toward disenfranchising Catholics - Catholic Culture

Today's CWN headline story from Wisconsin provides an illustration of how critics of Catholicism might move to silence the public voice of the Church. It's a frightening episode.

The Times and the Church - First Thoughts

A sign that the New York Times will not be halting its seemingly daily effort to link the Vatican to the priest scandals: today’s article on Cardinal Levada, written by Michael Luo, who has been covering economics and the recession for the newspaper.

The Easy Courage of Mocking Christianity - The Anchoress

Comedy Central has announced that it is developing a new cartoon about Jesus Christ, the premise of which will be that God, preoccupied with playing video games, loses track of Jesus, who moves to New York and tries to “adjust to life in the big

Practicing Catholics unfazed by abuse scandals; Pope’s popularity increasing - Catholic Culture

A new poll conducted by CBS News and The New York Times has found that 77% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly say that “the Vatican’s handling of recent child sex abuse reports” has had no effect on how they “feel about the Catholic Church.”

Some further tidying up - Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post

Two weeks ago I cleaned up after Christopher Hitchens, correcting some of the many distortions in his recent anti-Catholic broadsides. A tendentious polemicist, Hitchens only loosely constrains himself with the facts in assailing his favoured targets. So there is some further tidying up to do.

Church of the ‘Times’ - Commonweal

The New York Times's worldview is secularist and secularizing, and as such it rivals the Catholic worldview. But what makes the Times unique is that it is not just the nation's self-appointed newspaper of record. It is, to paraphrase Chesterton, an institution with the soul of a church.

A Vatican struggle over abuse policy - Catholic Culture

With the latest revelations by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, a clear picture begins to emerge from what had been a haze of confusion about the Vatican's approach to sex-abuse complaints.

CDF Meets PBS... - Whispers

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal William Levada sat for an extended interview with PBS' "Newshour," which ran tonight.

Anti-Catholicism, Again - Joseph Bottum - Weekly Standard

The permanent scandal of the Vatican.

You stitched up the Pope and this is how you did it, law professor tells New York Times - Telegraph

A Seton Hall law prof patiently details all the news that didn’t fit.

An Open Letter to Hans Küng - George Weigel - On the Square

A decade and a half ago, a former colleague of yours among the younger progressive theologians at Vatican II told me of a friendly warning he had given you at the beginning of the Council’s second session.

How Pope Benedict handled abuse: 2 revealing case studies - Catholic Culture

How has Pope Benedict XVI reacted to reports of pedophile priests? We now have two revealing case studies.

Five myths about abuse - Washington Post

A Washington Post reporter corrects some of the press distortions.

The New York Times vs. the Pope - Counterpunch magazine

Reading the Times’ coverage, it is striking that comparable issues of sexual abuse have not received the same sustained, in-depth, often front-page and editorial attention. Why has the sexual abuse of female soldiers in the military, of youthful inmates in the nation’s prison system, of boy scouts, of teen prostitutes, of Mormon girls and of youths within the Brooklyn Hassidic community not received the same scale of reporting?

Pope weeps with victims - Guardian

In Malta, Pope Benedict XVI is reduced to tears after child abuse meeting in Malta.

How to Save the Catholic Church - Sandro Magister - Chiesa.com

Benedict XVI was away from the media when the strongest symbolic action of his trip to Malta took place. It was his weeping with eight victims of sexual abuse committed by priests, abuse committed against them when they were very young.

Change in Vatican Culture - NCRegister

A sex abuse expert sees hope in Pope Benedict.

For French Kudos, Castrillón Gets Curbed - Whispers

In but the latest notable Roman development on the abuse front, late last night the Holy See underscored B16's record on the handling of cases at the expense of one of his pontificate's lead allies on other matters.

Can a teaching pope get his house in order? - John Allen - NCR

Some years ago, after a speech he delivered in Paris drew a bit of negative reaction, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told friends he wasn’t worried. “I’m like the cellist Rostropovich,” he joked. “I never read the critics.”

Don’t be daft — you can’t put the Pope on trial - John Allen - UK Spectator

Sovereignty is designed to protect the papacy from undue influence by any one nation, allowing the pope and his diplomatic corps to act as a neutral voice of conscience on the global stage.

Vatican disses one of its own on sex abuse - John Allen - NCR

Late Thursday evening Rome time, the Vatican released a statement in response to media reports in France about a September 2001 letter from Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, at the time the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, congratulating a French bishop for not reporting an abuser priest to the police.

"This Pain is Grace, Because It Is Renewal": Off-the-Cuff, the Pope Speaks - Whispers

In an extemporaneous homily delivered at a Mass this morning for the Pontifical Biblical Commission, B16 made his first comments on the sex-abuse tempest that's shaken the global church over recent weeks.

The mob should lay off. The pope is completely innocent - Guardian

Richard Dawkins's case against the pope is nonsense. Benedict has striven to rid the church of child abuse.

Candor creep about the pope - NCR

For the outside world, the news flash from Pope Benedict XVI's Easter Sunday Mass may have been that he did not allude to mounting criticism on the sex abuse crisis.

A critic blinded by hatred - Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post

Hitchens is blinded by hatred.

Koch on anti-Catholicism - Jerusalem Post

The former mayor of New York lets fly about the media persecution of the Church.

Dershowitz for the defense - Front Page

The legendary liberal lawyer makes five arguments in support of the Church's (and the pope's) handling of the sex-abuse crisis.

Fr. Joseph Fessio's interview - WGN-TV "Morning News"

Here is the video/audio from Fr. Fessio's interview with Chicago's WGN yesterday.

How the Vatican handles accusations - Chiesa

A look at the procedures that have been in place for years to handle accusations of various sorts against clergy.

Vatican releases summary of sex-abuse procedures - Catholic World News

The Vatican has issued a short set of guidelines explaining how the Church responds to sex-abuse complaints involving Catholic priests.

Journalists abandon standards to attack the Pope - Phil Lawler - Catholic Culture

We're off and running once again, with another completely phony story that purports to implicate Pope Benedict XVI in the protection of abusive priests.


Fr. Lombardi: "For love of the truth..." - Chiesa

The editorial read by the pope's spokesman on Vatican Radio on April 9. The most important official pronouncement on pedophilia after Benedict XVI's letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

Rome To Go Global on Sex Scandal? - Rome Reports

Romereports.com is carrying a story stating that the Holy See will soon issue tough new norms regarding priestly sex abuse and that these norms will apply to the whole world. (Up to now the Holy See has allowed nations where a paedophlia scandal emerged to craft their own norms.)

Another Long Lent - George Weigel - First Things

Cynicism and irony are powerful corrosives in ecclesiastical life. Yet they cannot withstand the power of radical conversion, joyful discipleship, and courageous evangelism. In North America, in Great Britain and Ireland, in Germany and Austria and the Netherlands, indeed all over the world Church, these are the most effective counters to the current wave of Church-bashing and Catholic-baiting.

Let's Get the Story Straight: Defrocking and Divorce - Father Jospeh Fessio, SJ

The so-called "stalled pedophile case", blame for which has been laid at the feet of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, had nothing to do with pedophilia and everything to do with strengthening marriage and the priesthood.

The Pope and the press - Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post

False accusations are reverberating around the world.

Scoundrel Time(s) - George Weigel - On the Square

In a pattern exemplifying the dog's behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today.

The Pope and the New York Times - William McGurn - Wall Street Journal

Unlike the Roman papacy, in certain circles the New York Times still enjoys the presumption of authority.

Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis - John Allen - NCReporter

Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI's history on the sex abuse crisis.

Moral panic flares again - Massimo Introvigne - Mercatornet

Is priestly paedophilia a problem? Yes, says an Italian sociologist. Is it a big problem? No.

Calling for Surrender - Kathryn Jean Lopez - National Review Online

Maureen Dowd, unsurprisingly, hits back at New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan today (who has criticized some of her columns on the Catholic Church as well as the New York Times itself), though not substantively so much as with sarcasm and a total lack of appreciation of the role of women in the Catholic worldview, once again.

What Went Wrong - George Weigel - Newsweek

What is essential throughout the world is that the church become more Catholic, not less.

Changing the priesthood's culture - Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post

On Tuesday, the local archbishop responded to the global firestorm set off by his local newspaper.

Journalism 101 - Patrick O'Hannigan - American Spectator

A step-by-step guide to how the New York Times ought to have approached the recent stories about priestly abuse.

Decoding accusations against Pope Benedict - Sandro Magister - Our Sunday Visitor

A veteran Vatican watcher describes culture of clerical sex abuse, reporting.

Sexual abuse is society's problem, too - Philip Lawler - Catholic Culture

Catholic bishops were not the only people who covered up evidence of sexual abuse. Public schools, police departments, families, media outlets, non-profit associations – not to mention other religious denominations – all were guilty of their own cover-ups.

A Response to the New York Times - Father Raymond de Souza - National Review Online

The appearance here is one of a coordinated campaign, rather than disinterested reporting.

A Response to Christopher Hitchens' The Great Catholic Coverup - Sean Murphy - CERC

Christopher Hitchens venomous attack on Pope Benedict XVI is a revelation that deserves wider attention.

The Passion of Pope Benedict. Six Accusations, One Question - Sandro Magister - Chiesa

Pedophilia is only the latest weapon aimed against Joseph Ratzinger. And each time, he is attacked where he most exercises his leadership role. One by one, the critical points of this pontificate.

Cardinal Ratzinger An Evil Monster? - Jimmy Akin - National Catholic Register

The level of vitriol being directed at Pope Benedict by the mainstream media right now is truly extraordinary

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Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.