HARRISBURG, PA (April 1, 2010) – On this Maundy (Holy) Thursday in which the Church celebrates the institution of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Eucharist by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy publicly stands with Peter and defends the person and office of Pope Benedict XVI. A national association of priests and deacons committed to ongoing formation (spiritual, theological and pastoral), the CCC declares our total loyalty, support, confidence and fraternity with the Successor of Saint Peter, Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ. We condemn and repudiate the slanderous attacks on the Holy Father and we encourage all the faithful (laity, religious and clergy alike) to join us and stand with Peter as did the early Church in the time of the Apostles. The secular press and media are supposed to REPORT the news and allow the public to DECIDE. Instead, we see conjecture, innuendo, false inferences, distorted facts, and many details taken out of context so as to promote an agenda of hatred and deceit for the Catholic religion. Ironically, the same media which demonstrates a hypersensitivity to not offending non Judaeo-Christian faiths by not printing offensive cartoons of Prophets and other religious founders, nevertheless, shows no restraint in making specious allegations against the spiritual leader of more than one BILLION Catholic Christians around the world.
Terrorists and other violent criminals are afforded a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in the press and media yet when it comes to the Pope, especially Benedict XVI, we rarely see the disclaimer “alleged” printed or spoken before a series of accusations are leveled against him. Lacking incontrovertible evidence, the media frenzy is nothing short of a bunch of sharks circling the water after smelling blood. They seek to devour former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. Sexual abuse of children is a grave evil no matter who is the culprit, be they priest or parent, minister or rabbi, teacher or coach, sibling or neighbor. Any instance of abuse is inexcusable and detestable. Abusers should be punished.
However, the current clarion call for ‘transparency’ must be taken in context. Forty and fifty years ago, the buzz word was ‘discretion.’ Families were discreet when a fellow family member was known or suspected to be a pedophile. Today, we learned the hard way that discretion was not the proper solution, yet, back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, everyone kept a lid on child abuse, whether it occurred in the house, at school, in the gym, on a camping trip or God-forbid in the rectory or parsonage. Some police and school administrators kept silence as did some bishops when they should have acted more vigorously. Society in general and not just Church leaders had to learn to no longer be quiet about child abuse. Furthermore, psychiatry and psychology were not the keepers of the panacea, the cure for all mental illness. Bishops were not the only ones given false hope when sex offenders were released after so-called ‘successful treatment.’ Today, everyone knows serial abusers are incurable and must never be allowed anywhere near children. Half a century ago, modern mental medicine told us otherwise.
The yellow journalism and anti-Catholic propaganda seen in some attacks on Pope Benedict, from demands for his resignation to convening an ‘inquisition’ rival the same rhetoric once found in the former Soviet news agency, TASS, or in the vitriolic ranting of Nazi Josef Goebbels. All reputable reporters, journalists, and news people need to distance themselves from the tabloid tactics of some of their colleagues. We need responsible reporting that does not color the facts, merely reveals them. We need balanced analysis and fair treatment given to every person and every religion. Instead of connecting dots that do not exist or instead of making outlandish accusations of elaborate Vatican conspiracies as found in pulp fiction, the world deserves to be treated more intelligently. Instead of throwing stones, how about giving both sides of the issue in showing mistakes AND progress; in telling the corrective measures now being taken as well as the sins committed in the past?