Once again, the Newspaper of Record has completely failed to get the full story about the Catholic Church’s record on child sexual abuse.
In an online piece published the other day, the Times once again rehashed old allegations about the sins of priests and the failures of bishops. This story, as with many others like it, irked me to no end. If a news outlet is going to report a story, it should, in fairness, report the full story. It shouldn’t just report the bad news.
And so, I wrote a letter to the editor, which they published today:
The church hardly needs another reminder that some priests were abusers and that some bishops were negligent in their leadership. Obviously, sexual abuse of minors is a terrible evil and must be rooted out from every institution.
The real story is the incredible amount of human capital and financial resources that have been expended by the church on prevention of future incidents of child abuse.
We have more than 48,000 people working with children in the Archdiocese of New York, and two million more across the country. The church spends tens of millions of dollars each year in prevention and safety programs.
Our staff members have been screened and trained and are being supervised by dedicated leaders committed to protecting children. We have tight policies to ensure that predators can’t have access to our children, and we react promptly and decisively to root them out and bring them to justice.
Other institutions study and model themselves on us. And we have been open and transparent in allowing outside auditors and scholars to study our efforts.
The Catholic Church in America has done something no other organization in the world has done — we’ve made a huge, across-the-board change in our corporate culture so that now every leader and every worker has child protection as a high item on his agenda. And we’ve been a great success.
That’s the real news: a story about learning from tragic mistakes and then committing to a course of transformation and success.
Let’s be clear. Any incident of sexual abuse is a horrific tragedy, and there’s no doubt that some Church officials didn’t do enough to protect children. It’s also undeniable that mistakes are still made — we are all far too human to be perfect. And there’s always room for improvement in how we help victims to heal.
But it is just fundamentally unfair, and bad journalism too, for the Times to continue to ignore the herculean efforts of thousands of pastors, principals, directors of religious education, Church administrative staff — and yes, bishops too — for the protection of children.
If you’re going to report the story, tell the full story.
Tags: Sex Abuse Crisis