Newspapers' abuse coverage prompts Canadian Bishops statement

By  Canadian Catholic News
  • March 22, 2010
{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has slammed press coverage in The National Post and La Presse newspapers suggesting the Catholic Church has inadequately responded to the sexual abuse crisis.

Both papers carried March 18 articles on abuse of minors by those in the church.

The National Post front page carried a huge photo of Pope Benedict XVI, with a headline “Pope seeks repentence.” Inside, the paper ran a column entitled “The great Catholic coverup” by noted atheist and secular humanist Christopher Hitchens, who called the Pope “a man personally and professionally responsible for enabling a filthy wave of crime.”

CCCB President Bishop Pierre Morissette said the bishops “strongly deplore the tone of these articles which are offensive to Canadian Catholics and imply that the church has not responded to the problem of sexual abuse. This is false, and the accusations are evidently influenced by prejudice.”

The bishops called the attacks “unjust and incorrect,” saying the Pope has “shown an example of great leadership, by apologizing to victims and by supporting the initiatives of bishops to prevent future cases of abuse.”

The bishops noted their own position on such “heinous crimes” has been clear for years. In 1992, they published the report From Pain to Hope, recommending that bishops respond fairly and openly to allegations of abuse, offer assistance to victims, and respect the jurisdiction of civil authorities. The bishops pledged to continue fighting the problem and supporting the Pope’s leadership.

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