Jesuit Magazine Raps U.S. Abuse Coverage

An influential Jesuit magazine close to the Vatican has criticized the "morbid and scandalous" treatment of the church sex abuse scandal by American media, saying it reflects growing anti-Catholic attitudes in the United States. The article, appearing today in Civilta Cattolica, said it was not seeking to minimize the problem, which it called a "tragedy" for the church in the U.S. But it asked why the American Catholic Church is subject to a "cross-fire of suspicions, violent accusations, recriminations, and demands for million-dollar settlements, as if the phenomenon of pedophilia was restricted to the Catholic clergy?"

It was this magazine's second article on the scandal before the meeting of American bishops in Dallas on how to deal with it. These articles receive Vatican approval before publication. Two weeks ago, it suggested that the Roman Catholic bishops should avoid telling congregations their parish priests sexually abused someone if the bishops believe the priests will not abuse again.

The article took aim at the large number of reporters who came to Rome for an April summit of the cardinals with Pope John Paul II, noting that television networks set up positions near St. Peter's Square. Such a deployment, it said, gave the impression "that this affair was also accompanied by a morbid and scandalous curiosity." The article claimed that an "anti-Catholic" and "anti-papal" spirit had been spreading in the United States since the pope came out against the Gulf War in 1991 and called for "justice and not vendetta" following the September 11 attacks in the United States and in the recent wave of Middle East violence.

"For many newspapers and television stations perhaps it seemed too good to be true to be able to slap the 'monster' of the day on the front page, this time identified in the Catholic clergy," the publication stated.

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