"Did Catholic priests really rape 10,000 children [in the United States] over the past 50 years, as respectable media outlets claim? No, they didn't," writes Brendan O'Neill of England's spiked online magazine. "In truth, 1,203 made this allegation."
Turning to nearby Ireland, O'Neill continues: "So were thousands of children – in particular boys, the main focus of the media reports – raped in Irish reform schools? No – 68 were, allegedly."
Written on the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's high-profile trip to England, O'Neill's September 13, 2010, column, "How the New Atheists are abusing the truth," is a must-read.
O'Neill breaks down the actual statistics of the scandal and exposes an egregiously "warped conflation" perpetrated by major media and angry atheists on both sides of the Atlantic.
Approaching the end of the article, O'Neill again hits it out of the park:
Why is it worth pointing out these basic facts? Not in order to defend the Catholic Church … No, it is worth pointing out the reality of the extent of allegations against the Catholic Church in order to expose the non-rationalist, anti-humanist underpinnings of the current fashion for Catholic-baiting amongst the liberal, opinion-forming classes in the US and the UK. The wildly inaccurate claim about thousands of children being raped by the representatives of an institution which actively ‘protected and financed child rape’ suggests that modern-day atheism, this New Atheism, has zero interest in applying the tools of rational investigation and critical questioning to the problem of certain religions’ infrastructure, and instead is hellbent on using the politics of fear to invent a fantastical rape-happy ogre, in contrast to which it can pose as the pure defender of childlike innocence and societal integrity.
Please, please, please read this article if you want some facts and truth about the abuse scandals.