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Poor Coverage of Pope's Visit

April 21, 2008

It was big news that the Pope said that he was ashamed that the Catholic Church had pedophiles in its midst. But there is much more to the story. The media ignore the well-documented fact, which the Pope understands, that the pedophile problem was a function of homosexual men infiltrating the church as priests.

On another matter, as the Pope was in Washington, D.C., a new death penalty ruling came down from the Supreme Court, leading some liberal bloggers and journalists to say that the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment. This is false.

It's true that the U.S. Catholic Bishops launched a campaign to end the use of the death penalty, but this is not the official Catholic Church position.

We should remind the news-consuming public of the facts about the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. I wrote about this in 2004 when The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, released its report on the crisis. Members of the board were reluctant to talk about the real problem publicly, but it is identified back on page 80 of the report, where they say that "...we must call attention to the homosexual behavior that characterized the vast majority of the cases of abuse observed in recent decades. That eighty-one percent of the reported victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior."

At the time, the Washington Times headlined this finding in a front-page story, "Gay priests cited for 81% of abuse." By contrast, the New York Times, which functions as a virtual house organ of the homosexual rights lobby, played down this finding, relegating it to paragraph 15 in a February 27 story.

The report said, "In some areas, the large number of homosexual priests or candidates had the effect of discouraging heterosexual men from seeking to enter the priesthood. In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a 'gay subculture,' and at these seminaries, according to several witnesses, homosexual liaisons occurred among students or between students and teachers. Such subcultures existed or exist in certain dioceses or orders as well. The Board believes that the failure to take disciplinary action against such conduct contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely."

However, rather than urge the church to keep homosexuals out of the priesthood, the board said it is vital that seminaries create a climate and a culture "conducive to chastity." So homosexuals can continue to be admitted as long as they don't engage in homosexuality. But that was expected of them in the past, and they violated the rules. Many in the media ignored the problem, as identified by the board, and then ignored the fact that no real solution was presented.

There is reason to believe, however, that the Pope understands and has faced up to the problem.

In 2005, in what was described as his first major ruling, Benedict reaffirmed that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood. This ruling and other statements earned him the label of "Anti-Gay Person of the Year" by the Washington (Gay) Blade newspaper. This is the paper that ran the ad for a "hot bottom" that enticed Rep. Barney Frank to hire a homosexual prostitute.

On the death penalty matter, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, is among those who have insisted that the Catholic Church believes the use of the death penalty is an "immoral act." I wrote about this in a column back in 2005. The claim is just false. Article 2267 of the Catholic catechism, an authoritative compendium of church teaching, says the church "does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives" against criminals.

Turley made his claim in the context of insisting that John Roberts, a Catholic, would have a problem endorsing the death penalty if he were confirmed to the Supreme Court. Turley also suggested that Justice Antonin Scalia, another Catholic, may be violating church teaching by endorsing it. In fact, Scalia has noted that the death penalty is not immoral and that support for it has been part of Christian and Catholic tradition in the Old and New Testaments.

In the 7-2 pro-death penalty ruling that came down from the Supreme Court on Wednesday, five of the seven endorsing capital punishment were Catholics. That included Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the lead opinion.

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