Never Has The Media So Staunchly Defended A Catholic Like They Have Pope Francis
It wasn’t long ago when the press took allegations of systemic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church seriously. It was The Boston Globe who broke their bombshell report in 2002 about the cover-up by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston became a global controversy. And now 16 years later, another bombshell report reveals systemic abuse from the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.
According to the report released by a grand jury earlier this month, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania have been covering up the abuse of over 1,000 children committed by over 300 priests. It notes that “there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.”
And since then, allegations of a coverup have reached The Vatican.
Former ambassador from the Vatican to the U.S. Archbishop Vigano claimed in a letter that Pope Francis was informed about the abuse by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick back in 2013 and that he had lifted the sanctions that were placed against the accused predator that were set by his predecessor Pope Benedict. Vigano urged the pope to resign.
“I will not say a word about that. I think the statement speaks for itself,” Pope Francis said to the press responding to Vigano’s accusations, which isn’t exactly a denial.
If the allegations are true, this would truly be one of the most devastating scandals that has plagued The Vatican, let alone the Roman Catholic Church. But what is equally disturbing is the media’s shielding of the pope.
The New York Times, for example, had not one but two jarring headlines since the scandal broke- not about the severity of the allegations being made against Pope Francis, but instead about the reaction from conservative critics. On their site, the headline reads “Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open As Conservatives Pounce.” The headline they used in print was ever more nauseating.
Shameful stuff, NYT. pic.twitter.com/NNwpemjCRz
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) August 29, 2018
According to the NYT, not denying the allegations of covering up the abuse of children is taking the “high road.”
This is how that article began:
Since the start of his papacy, Francis has infuriated Catholic traditionalists as he tries to nurture a more welcoming church and shift it away from culture war issues, whether abortion or homosexuality. “Who am I to judge?” the pope famously said, when asked about gay priests.
Just how angry his political and doctrinal enemies are became clear this weekend, when a caustic letter published by the Vatican’s former top diplomat in the United States blamed a “homosexual current” in the Vatican hierarchy for sexual abuse. It called for Francis’ resignation, accusing him of covering up for a disgraced cardinal, Theodore E. McCarrick.
With the letter — released in the middle of the pope’s visit to Ireland — an ideologically motivated opposition has weaponized the church’s sex abuse crisis to threaten not only Francis’ agenda but his entire papacy. At the very least, it has returned the issue of homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church, which many conservatives are convinced lies behind the abuse crisis, to the center of debate.
So it’s apparently not about the thousands of children who were victimized by the Catholic Church over several decades, it’s about how it “threatens” Francis’ “agenda” and his “entire papacy.”
Reuters had a similar approach to the story.
Conservative media move to front line of battle to undermine Pope Francis https://t.co/Syg6NauETF
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 30, 2018
The Los Angeles Times took aim at Vigano, describing his claims as “unsubstantiated.” They also cite “church experts” who insist that his letter “may be less about those allegations than about power struggles within the church hierarchy,” pointing to Pope Francis’s more liberal positions.
Funny, you can make a similar argument in the press’s defense of the pope.
It’s no secret that conservatives have butted heads with Pope Francis, who has been embraced by the left for things like climate change, abortion, and LGBT issues as well as his not-so-subtle commentary on President Donald Trump.
But with allegations this severe, it’s remarkable how the press has either downplayed this scandal or has outright defended Pope Francis. It’s quite the reversal from the journalistic integrity that was displayed by The Boston Globe several years ago.
It’s worth comparing the media’s treatment of the allegations made against Pope Francis to the ones made against Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Like the pope, Jordan was also accused of turning a blind eye on sexual abuse but as assistant coach of the wrestling team at Ohio State University where the team’s doctor, who is now deceased, is currently being investigated for decades-long allegations of molestation. But unlike the pope, Jordan was heavily scrutinized by the media, earning himself tons of coverage on MSNBC and CNN, networks that have given Pope Francis’s scandal minimal attention. And The New York Times never reported how liberals were “pouncing” on Jordan nor did they claim he took the “high road.”
One of our country’s founding principles is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That applies to people on both sides of the aisle, no matter the alleged misdeeds. But it’s abundantly obvious that the media cherry-picks those whom they rightfully scrutinize and those who they’ll wrongfully shield from political foes.
Advocating on behalf of child victims was once a bipartisan issue. Sadly, it looks like that’s no longer the case.
[Featured photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.