Divine Mercy Sunday at the Boston Globe: Another Anti-Catholic Hit Piece By Kevin Cullen

Kevin Cullen's latest article (Sun., 5/1/11) is yet another example of how the Boston Globe's reporting of the Catholic Church abuse narrative has descended into lazy, mean-spirited, and dishonest journalism.

The Globe plastered Cullen's latest screed in the high-profile, can't-miss position across the top of page A3. Cullen addresses the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, and according to Kevin, the "rush to elevate John Paul ignores victims" of the abuse scandals.

How does JPII's beatification "ignore victims"? Cullen doesn't say. The obvious lack of effort in this column leads one to believe that Cullen may have phoned in his article from that park bench he was sitting on in those Globe television commercials last year.

Cullen relays the case of Robert Costello, a man who claims he was abused by Fr. John Cotter at St. Theresa in West Roxbury several decades ago. Indeed, the story of abuse relayed by Costello is incredibly maddening and sad. Costello wanted to meet JPII, but he was unable to do so. From this episode, Cullen makes the incredible leap that Pope John Paul II was "a flawed man who presided over a church that was guilty of one of the biggest institutional coverups of criminal activity in history."

Good grief.

There are more problems in Cullen's bigoted article.

1. Cullen cites the notorious Fr. Tom Doyle and lauds him as a "great priest." Most readers will be unaware that Doyle is a rabidly dissident Catholic who openly opposes Church teaching. Fr. Doyle has repeatedly misrepresented Church teaching and history. He exhibits the theological reliability of a ShamWow salesman. In other words, Fr. Doyle is not a "great priest." (The same applies to East Longmeadow's Fr. James Scahill, whom Cullen also cites. In the same mold of Doyle, Scahill is not a "great priest" at all either.)

2. Cullen falsely claims that the Church in the U.S. "ignored" a report that Fr. Doyle authored in the mid-1980's about abuse in the Catholic Church. In fact, the truth is that hundreds of dioceses put protective measures into place around the same time as Doyle's report, and, as a result, the incidences of abuse dropped rapidly.

3. Contrary to Fr. Doyle's claim that the Pope "looked the other way" when abuse occurred, JPII issued an important document in 2001 ("Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela") outlining the handling of these serious abuse cases. This measure streamlined the laicizations of numerous priests who were found to have abused children. In addition, in 2002, JPII helped to oversee the measures the United States bishops took to address abuse crimes.

4. Cullen conveniently fails to mention that the accused priest of the article, Fr. John Cotter, died in 1989. Cullen reprints a portion of Bob Costello's 1994 letter to give the false impression that Cotter was still alive at the time Costello wrote it. He wasn't.

Cullen also doesn't mention that between 1995 and 1998 the Catholic Church paid 11 of Cotter's accusers nearly $1 million dollars in settlements. So much for the "heartless" Church "looking the other way" from victims.

We must continue to demand justice and compassion for victims of clergy abuse. That is not optional. Nothing justifies the wretched evil of child abuse. However, the Globe continues to deliberately and maliciously target the Catholic Church.

Kevin Cullen's latest effort is just another anti-Catholic hit job from the Globe.

(Since authoring this piece, the Catholic League weighed in on Cullen's article as well.)