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Abuse of minors: why the Church is targeted

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 Contents - May 2010AD2000 May 2010 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Abuse of minors: why the Church is targeted - Michael Gilchrist
Anglican: Anglicans and Christian unity: progress report - Bishop David Robarts
News: The Church Around the World
Culture Wars: Christians uniting to take a stand: the Manhattan Declaration - Bishop Julian Porteous
Liturgy: Reform of the reform: a 'shift in liturgical culture' - Archbishop Mark Coleridge
Culture: The vocation of Christians in public life - Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
Parish life: A youth apostolate that works - Fr John O'Neill
Obama Health Bill: how liberal nuns undermined US bishops' opposition - Babette Francis
Foundations of Faith: The Mass: early centuries to Vatican II - Br Barry Coldrey
Conversion: 'Strangely and suspiciously tall': an Evangelical meets the Mother of God - Terri Kelleher
Letters: Child abuse - Arnold Jago
Letters: Non-Christians - Fr Brian Harrison OS
Letters: Correction
Books: BE TO ME A FATHER AND A PRIEST, by Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR, by George Orwell - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: INSIDE THE NEW AGE NIGHTMARE, by Randall N. Baer - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Our prayers and God's silence: what Scripture says - Arthur Ballingall

It is no surprise that the secular media has been targeting the Catholic Church yet again over the cover-up of child abuse crimes, most of which occurred many years ago.

Condemnation of the manner in which many of these were handled is well merited, but the media has gone overboard in attempting to implicate even the Pope in his earlier capacities as Archbishop of Munich and as a top Vatican official in the culture of cover-ups.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was one of the first church leaders to recognise the gravity and extent of the sexual abuse of minors, and to demand that local churches have effective means of responding to allegations, helping the victims and dealing with offenders.

Of course, when the Church is seen to be hypocritical over moral issues, its credibility as the repository of eternal truth and bastion of traditional values is seriously weakened. For having espoused the highest moral standards, the Church must expect to be judged by those standards.

Admittedly pedophilia is by no means the monopoly of clerical celibates. Its incidence has been greater in other organisations and enterprises - religious or secular - where there is ready access to the young. And married people are by no means exempt from this criminal behaviour.

It is easy, with the advantage of hindsight and a better understanding of the issue to find fault in almost any manner of handling cases in past years, however well-intended. We need to distinguish between the isolated instances of such mishandling - as judged by today's more rigorous standards - and the persistent and deliberate cover-ups that occurred in Ireland and elsewhere, such as Boston and Milwaukee. These deserve the strongest condemnation.

Michael Gilchrist, Editor: Email address available on request.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 23 No 4 (May 2010), p. 2

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