The Great Catholic Both/And

Cdl. Ratzinger gives an interview which includes this bit:

Q: This past year has been difficult for Catholics, given the space dedicated by the media to scandals attributed to priests. There is talk of a campaign against the Church. What do you think?

Cardinal Ratzinger: In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.

In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion.

A friend passes it along to me, remarking, “C’mon, Mark. Everybody’s a sinner. Even priests. The media are only covering

this because they have a bias against Catholics.”

I reply: The problem with trying to discuss this is that there is, we both know, an historic animus against the Church in the press, yet any note of that now looks like an attempt to shift blame. Yet the fact remains that, under Howell Raines, (and therefore the pack media that follows the NY Times lead) that animus can be fairly characterized as a “campaign” I think. Note, for instance, the Times’ eagerness to profile David Kelley as an outraged Catholic and its slowness to admit that, hey, he was never Catholic and the whole article was a fraud. However, any attempt to say that by a churchman looks like denial.

Bottom line: the fact that Assyria is used by God to judge corrupt Israel does not make the Assyrians good guys. Nor does it alter the fact that observing that Assyrians are wicked butchers and frequently enemies of God is perfectly legitimate. The press does not become more trustworthy merely because bishops are less trustworthy.

The great Catholic both/and. Bishops are corrupt and wicked *and* the secular press hates the Church. What a winning formula!


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