Groundhog Day Again at the NY Times as McCarrick Report Triggers Prebirth Flashback of the 1980s for Columnist Bruenig

Elizabeth Bruenig : New York Times

Bringing the 1980s back to life: Elizabeth Bruenig of the New York Times

Writer Elizabeth Bruenig at the New York Times may have been born in 1990, but in an appearance on PBS NewsHour to promote a pair of articles she wrote for the Times about the much-hyped McCarrick Report, Bruenig spoke of Catholic Church sex abuse as if the year were 1985.

Unfortunately for Bruenig, however, a lot of has changed in the Church's handling of abuse cases since the 1980s. And as a result, Bruenig badly misinformed her audience.

Elizabeth's false facts

In her PBS appearance, Bruenig made the alarming claim that the "sex abuse crisis is still ongoing at this time." Not surprisingly, she provided zero examples to support her statement. In fact, Bruenig also added the bizarre and false claim that "we first heard about (sex abuse against priests) in 2002." "2002"?

As we have reported countless times before, it is an empirical fact that abuse in the Catholic Church today is now a rarity. In a body of 70 million people, an average less than 7 contempraneous allegations are deemed "substantiated" by the lenient standards of diocesan review boards each year.

Elizabeth Bruenig

On tee-vee: Elizabeth Bruenig

And the reason that accusations have plummeted is because of the many proactive measures that the Church has enacted since the mid-1980s, when the first horrific stories of abuse by priests first emerged.

"As early as 1982, we saw policies and procedures coming to the attention of the USCCB (the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) regarding specific child molestation cases," Teresa Kettelkamp, former executive director of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection for the USCCB, has reported. "By 1983, 157 dioceses had policies in place."

These policies formulated the bishops' "Five Principles" in dealing with allegations of abuse. Bishops first articulated them in 1987 and then publicly pronounced them in 1992. (Note to Elizabeth: These were all long before 2002.)

And since 2002, the USCCB has been conducting and publishing annual audits to ensure that dioceses have complied with safeguarding and reporting policies.

It apparently would be breaking news to Bruenig that even though abuse has soiled every organization that works with children, no other organization on the planet even comes close in its efforts to rectify for its past and prevent future abuse.

Pretty embarrassing

In the end, it was quite a rough appearance for Bruenig. Bruenig also stated that "there needs to be more oversight from lay people." Well, folks like Dr. Francesco Cesareo (Chairman of the National Review Board), Teresa Kettelkamp, and the staffs of nearly every diocesan review board, chancery office, and parish in the country would surely tell you that it is indeed lay people – and largely women – who are overseeing nearly all of the day-to-day operations of the Church.

Bruenig also said that "there needs to be a way to report bishops," signaling that she was completey oblivious to the fact that Pope Francis himself, despite his faults, issued just last year a motu propio, "Vos Estis Lux Mundi" ("You are the light of the world"), to establish this very thing, new procedures for investigating accusations against bishops.

Quite simply, Bruenig is speaking from the platform of one of the most powerful media outlets on the planet, the New York Times, despite the fact that does not have even a fundamental knowledge of the Catholic sex abuse story.

We are pretty sure that if Bruenig had presented herself on worldwide television as uninformed on any other subject, her bosses would probably want to have a word with her afterwards. But despite this embarrassing appearance from Bruenig, we surmise nothing will happen in this case.

After all, as we have long chronicled, the Times has quite an extensive history of distorting the Catholic Church sex abuse story. So in this instance, it's Groundhog Day all over again.


Read about the rampancy of false accusations against priests in the new book by David F. Pierre, Jr. of, The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church … available at

Bruenig's appearance on PBS:


  1. Odisa says:

    In the meantime… The Boy Scouts have received over 90 000 allegations of sexual abuse.

    Atleast PBS has a news video about it, but the headline does not mention the disgustingly high number of allegations.

    90 000 allegations of sexual abuse, let that enter into your mind.