Media Gunning for the Pope in Sex Abuse Scandals

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Journalists from the mainstream media have launched an all-out effort to discredit Pope Benedict XVI by trying to tie him to a number of sex abuse scandals.

The most recent attack came from The New York Times which ran a front page story yesterday under the headline “Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest who Abused Deaf Boys.” The article recounts the previously reported case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, principal of residential school in Milwaukee from 1950 to 1974 who sexually molested as many as 200 deaf boys. When the Archdiocese learned of the abuse, Fr. Murphy was immediately removed from pastoral work and sent back home to live with his mother.

The Times connected this to the  Pope by revealing that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger agreed to stop the laicization process of Fr. Murphy when it became apparent that the priest was already on his deathbed. Fr. Murphy died four months after the Vatican agreed to drop the case.

On the other side of the Atlantic, European journalist are busy scouring records of the five years the Pope served as Archbishop of Munich for evidence of any kind of sexual abuse cover ups.

The press has desperately tried to link him to the case of a priest from the Archdiocese who was sent for counseling after being accused of sex abuse. Cardinal Ratzinger allowed him to stay in a rectory during treatment where the priest was not in active ministry. Apparently, the vicar general of the diocese later allowed him to help at a parish without consulting the Cardinal.

In spite of these facts, the London Times ran the story on March 13 under the completely inaccurate headline: “Pope knew priest was pedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry.” The New York Times followed the same story under another misleading headline: “Abuse Scandal in Germany Edges Closer to Pope.”

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican’s press office, has repeatedly insisted that Pope Benedict was “completely unconnected” with the Munich case, and slammed reporters for their attempts at implicating the Pope.

“It is evident that over recent days some people have sought – with considerable persistence, in Regensburg and Munich – elements that could personally involve the Holy Father in questions of abuse,” he said. “To any objective observer, it is clear that these efforts have failed.”

The most outrageous attack to date came from an article by atheist-activist Christopher Hitchens published by Slate and run by Canada’s National Post and the Washington Post. “The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it,” Hitchens wrote, claiming Pope Benedict is “the man chiefly responsible for the original cover-up.”

Hitchens called the Pope “a mediocre Bavarian bureaucrat once tasked with the concealment of the foulest iniquity, whose ineptitude in that job now shows him to us as a man personally and professionally responsible for enabling a filthy wave of crime.”

He continued: “Ratzinger himself may be banal, but his whole career has the stench of evil – a clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel,. What is needed is not medieval incantation but the application of justice – and speedily at that.”

Faithful Catholics from all over the world are rallying around the Pope and have organized a Facebook group in his defense entitled “Catholics Who Condemn the Media’s Recent Treatment of the Pope.” To date, more than 1,700 people have joined the group to express their love for the pope and to deplore the media’s callous attacks upon an innocent man.

To visit the Facebook page, go to!/group.php?gid=365801888885

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