Gaining Some Perspective on the Papal Election: Chicago Tribune Notes Pope Francis Is a ‘Humble New Leader’ For a Church That Is a ‘Voice of Multimillennial Values’

Pope Francis : Chicago Tribune : Bruce Dold

Kudos: After the election of Pope Francis, the Chicago Tribune's Editorial page editor Bruce Dold (r)
spearheads an editorial capturing the big picture

It should go without saying that the Catholic Church, its teachings, and its many organizations greatly impact the lives of not only its 1.2 billion members but also the world as a whole. Thus the election of Pope Francis – the 266th Pope – was a very important historical event by any measure.

Predictably, however, most news organizations failed to grasp the larger picture of the election and instead often focused on the now half-century old claims of sex abuse by priests. Most reporters were perhaps simply unable to look beyond their cramped political biases against Catholicism, while others may have wanted to accent the salacious in hopes of reviving a dead story.

So special kudos go out to the Chicago Tribune for bucking this lazy and narrow-minded practice and focusing instead on the Catholic Church and the role it plays in the world.

In a recent editorial, the Tribune opined on the election of Pope Francis for what is actually was: the election of a Pope and not an opportunity to once again bash the Church over decades-old episodes.

Upholding multimillennial values

The Tribune reminds readers that the Catholic Church is not an organization that chases new trends or bends to popular culture. It focuses on its Gospel mission of evangelization and its commitment to the poor:

"[Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's] elevation to the papacy matters for reasons that reach far beyond his vast and philosophically cleaved flock: traditionalists and modernists, free-thinkers and doctrinaire purists, all-in loyalists and "cafeteria Catholics" who select which teachings they believe and which rules they follow: In this nation and many others, Catholics and their institutions are the largest private providers of education, health care and charitable services. And whether the rest of us agree or disagree with its positions, the U.S. church is a rigorous voice on social issues — a voice of multimillennial values in a culture prone to preach that what's new is therefore good."

And to those individuals – especially those in the United States – who think that the Church should revolve around them and their pet issues that are often in opposition to Church teachings, the Tribune delivers a clear and stark message. The Catholic Church cannot change its role as the ancient guardian of Christian truth to follow the latest fads in sexual ethics or gender politics:

"To the extent that Pope Francis focuses his church on root teachings about poverty and justice, he may leave some U.S. Catholics wondering what happened to their issues — the role of women in Catholicism, a push for (or against) liberalized doctrines, damaging effects from sexual abuse scandals, bureaucratic reform from the Vatican on down. His history suggests that, like Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI before him, he'll want a church true to its beliefs, not one that tailors principles to please those who disagree."

Bravo to the Chicago Tribune for its clear-thinking view of the true and much larger picture of the election of Pope Francis.


  1. Ben says:

    The Tribune and Dold should be commended for getting the story right.

    Reporters are essentially lazy, underpaid ceatures of habit and that is why they see the church only through the narrow lens of old abuse stuff.

  2. Kudos to the Chicago Tribune for its objective editorializing on the church. The Tribune is absolutely correct. The new Pope will keep the Church on a course "true to its beliefs and veer sharply away from  a course "that tailors principles to please those who disagree".  The Church can be like a parent; flexible in some areas but RIGID in sticking to core beliefs. Consequently, many of her children are told NO and do not like it..

  3. Michael Skiendzielewski says:

    No matter what the course of action, there needs to be clear and demonstrative evidence of honesty, integrity and forthrightness on the part of Catholic Leadership in the US and worldwide.  And, at this present time, we simply do not have this, at least here in the US.

  4. jim robertson says:

    Jesus said "Love your neighbor as yourself." He never said "Mind your nieghbors business". or "Control your nieghbor as much as you possibly can".

    But don't you think "parental rigidity" as far as unmarried clergy has added a unneccesary burden to your clergy?

    I wish you and your new Pope all the best.

    • Jen says:

      You want people to mind their own bussiness but you have some problem with the rules of a church to which you don't belong that asks men to give their entire lives to God's church?


      They signed up freely so what does it have to do with you?




    • Simon says:

      Jim, the Catholic church is not a prison. Over the centuries lots of religions or churches have cropped up in protest at her beliefs and teachings. Anyone can leave at will. So there should be no talk of "parental rigidity". It is quite simple; if you dont like it, move on. If Henry VIII was alive he would tell you that himself. There is no room for debate here. As some Americans seem yet to find out, The Catholic church is neither  populist nor a democracy. Her members may break her rules (and indeed all catholics including the pope himself do commit sin) but that is no reason for the church to change the truth.

  5. Mark T says:

    As much as I enjoy visiting this website, I am not so sure that "half-century old" is always the right term to describe an accusation of molestion against a priest. Just recently, we had a man who taught at a catholic school in Portland Victoria claiming that he saw a priest molesting a child as late as 2010.

  6. Julie says:

    What did the man who said he saw the priest molesting the kid do? Call the cops? I hope so! That is what I and all Catholics, clergy and bishops would want him to do. So, what DID he do? If he didn't do anything he is an accomplice. God bless the Chicago Tribune. They have a journalist willing to actually think. Journalism is so rife with laziness, agenda and plagiarism now. It is a breath of fresh air to see an example otherwise.

    • Mark T says:

      Well Julie, he claims he tried to report the priest but everyone ganged up on him and he lost his job. Mind you, the bishops said they heard nothing about this priest being a child molester.

  7. jim robertson says:

    Jen I was a sexual abuse victim of your "celibate" clergy. That's what it has to do with me and makes it my business.

    • PKH says:

      Jim, did the “celibate” clergy abuse you because he is celibate or because he is an abuser? Waht did you do after you were abused: did you report the incident to the police or have you waited to report it at TMR?

  8. Publion says:

    Kudos to TMR for the Chicago Tribune find.


    “There needs to be clear and demonstrative evidence of honesty, integrity and forthrightness on the part of” … the Abuse-niks as well. Especially since we have seen so many documents from the Church which haven’t established much of anything at all in the way of evidence, let alone clear and undeniable smoking-gun types of proof.


    While at the same time we have now seen the LA documents, the (reports purporting to describe the) Dutch Abuse Report, the Magdalene Laundries, and that torture-and-war-crimes Complaint filed with the International Criminal Court at the Hague, as well as the material Ralph Cipriano is now examining on the BigTrial site  – and none of those documents  gives much clear evidence that very many particular claimed instances of Abuse have actually been demonstrated clearly and beyond doubt to have actually occurred.


    And – indeed – all these just-mentioned documents have actually have given ever more vivid indications that there may well be a rather large and queasy Oz-like empty shell at the center of their cause.


    Of all those 10 thousand-plus allegations actually enumerated in the John Jay Reports, how many have actually been demonstrably and publicly established to have actually occurred? One hundred? Less? (Simply being included in the payout of a settlement from a lawsuit during the sue-the-Bishops phase doesn’t count.) And absent such specific and focused demonstration, how can we be sure what we are dealing with at all in the Abuse Matter?


    In the absence of such evidence, how can anyone legitimately and justifiably distinguish between a false-claim and a genuine one?


    In regard to Abuse (or “rigidity”, or “parental rigidity” – whatever that is and however it is imagined to connect with the unmarried priesthood) being somehow a problem specific to the unmarried status of Catholic clergy: As we have seen – religions with married clergy have also had accusations lodged against them, as have numerous non-religious and even governmental organizations (the LAUSD and the military, for openers) where large numbers of the accused are quite conventional in terms of marital status and even sexual-orientation. So the ‘unmarried priesthood’ assertion  –  i.e. that celibacy causes Abuse – fails as an explanatory claim (it can’t be dignified as being a hypothesis).


    In fact, for some who make the most insistent claims, the only actually documented evidence we have is that they collected on the settlements – but not that their claims of being-abused have ever been demonstrated to have actually occurred.

  9. Julie says:

    "In fact, for some who make the most insistent claims, the only actually documented evidence we have is that they collected on the settlements – but not that their claims of being-abused have ever been demonstrated to have actually occurred." Right, Publion. I can't believe some people know this and say, Meh. It scares me to the bone. Those who were wanting this to collapse the Catholic Church are perhaps not aware that others have tried and failed, for 2,000 years. There is divine oversight of the Church, no doubt. And the scumbags are being cleaned out from the inside. Even as scumbags on the outside of it are robbing the coffers. Sorry the church's demise isn't happening for you Jim.

    • jim robertson says:

      Don't be sarcastic Julie, you don't do it well.

      I have absolutetly zero interest in nor do I believe for one moment that the Church will die.

      I do think change will come. It always does.

      Let's suppose the possibility of one day Pope Francis should say. All celibates can marry if they wish to.

      You know how fast you would gush: that the Holy Father has enlivened the clerical commitment to marriage by allowing them to choose marriage for themselves?

      You'd fall all over yourselves saying that the Holy Spirit is working in the Church.

      I've been a Catholic through Vatican II. I've seen it done before.

      The only people robbing your Church is you.

      You're robbing a vital relevant Church from yourselves and your fellow Catholics by being so silly as to buy that some vast majority of those raped by your clergy are lying when they tell you about it.

      The only ones lying here are you.


  10. jim robertson says:

    PKH, I'm a compensated victim (compensated in 2007) who at the age of 16 (I'm now 66) reported my abuse to the dean of students and a priest at my high school who both decided not to tell my parents. I wanted no one to know what happened to me. NO ONE! The adults who should have done the right thing by me. Didn't.

    If you're such big supporters of sex only inside heterosexual marriages and the Church allows Anglican converts and other priests to be married be priests; and you're not getting enough priestly vocations. Does it take a math genius to figure out you're going to need more priests and you're not getting them?

    You're might be right in asking was it because he was celibate or because he was an abuser.

    I don't know. If he'd had more natural, and I include homosexual in natural, outlets for his sexuallity would a child have been chosen? I don't know. But I believe he (they, there were 2 abusers) might have had more decent appropriate options than me.

  11. jim robertson says:

    Pub, still harping on "evidence". When the Church settled in order that evidence not be seen by the public for the Church's sake.

    Hence the settlements. Find another tune to play.

  12. Julie says:

    So Jim, When a priest is accused, we should just automatically assume he is guilty? And the church should pay out without evidence, like a slot machine?

  13. Publion says:

    We are given – as if on cue – some further classic material – and I am thankful for it.


    ‘JR’ claims he told the dean of students and a priest at his high school, 50 years ago. But – they both “decided not to tell my parents”. The next question – which pops up rather quickly to a normal mind – is: why did JR not tell his own parents himself?


    Of course, it may have happened just as JR claims.


    But it is equally plausible that many years later, when the surf was up, he needed a story to create a ticket onto the treasure-train and came up with one – decades later – where nobody he claimed to have been involved would be in a position to speak (and screw up the beauteous  symmetry of the story he was going to tell).


    So – yes – I’d need to see some further corroborating “evidence”. A man might walk into a bank and accidentally pull a gun out of his briefcase instead of a deposit slip – but I’d really need more than his word for it before deciding he hadn’t come in to rob the place.


    And a vivid example of victimism: “the adults who should have done the right thing by me didn’t”. Well, 16 is not 6: fifty years ago a 16 year-old would have had only a year and some months  before he could sign up for service in Vietnam; a kid that age might well have been driving (on a permit; some states allowed it at 16 years and 9 months). So I’m not really buying the apparently permanent plaint purporting that ‘the adults let me down’ when the individual apparently took no action himself when he could have, yet he was only a little while away from the country trusting him with a military assault weapon and the State trusted him with the operation of a motor vehicle.


    Or does one wish to claim that there was nobody to turn to (not the parents even?) because society didn’t consider it a big thing 50 years ago (compared to, say, the running list of daily deaths in Vietnam or the weekly totals of folks – and among them a lot of young people – literally killed in car wrecks). But if you go that route, then how make such brouhaha that the Church – along among all other institutions of culture and society – didn’t do things the way they are done now?


    I place little confidence in JR’s theological ruminations about the priestly vocation issue. He’s welcome to toss the piles up on the plexiglass  – of course – and offer his ruminations about things Catholic or about Einstein’s General or Special Theory of Relativity. But anybody studying for a test or hoping to get a better grasp of reality is well-advised to consult more reliable sources instead.


    And he once again insists that the only reason the Church went along with the bundled-lawsuit settlements was because all the priests accused were guilty. We have JR’s brain and word to back up that assertion. That’s the same brain that we’ve seen displayed here in so many bits and pieces, and the same word that insisted he would no longer be commenting here because of moral reasons (we are all “immoral”).


    And yet he soon showed up again claiming that he does so because to comment here “amuses” him. So apparently his ‘amusement’ is more important to him than any issues of morality. Why is that not surprising?


    And I think it’s clear why SNAP and other outlets decided to avoid his assistance: he clearly gives the victimist Abuse Game away. Because by claiming that “evidence” isn’t really the important thing in this Matter, he pretty much cuts the rug out of the high-ground they are all trying to claim for themselves.


    And that statement also itself provides direct and clear indication that “evidence” is not high on the victimist list of priorities when it comes to the accusing and the claiming and all that.


    Which is what I’ve been suggesting all along here.


    I’d suggest to JR that he find another theory to espouse or maybe another venue to play his one-note kazoo, but I don’t imagine there are any left unless he starts his own blog. So, every village has its … and I guess this is ours.


    And I’ll bet that nobody on the victimist side – now that the checks have been cashed – really wants any of the material from those stories and claims to see the light of day now.  Sooo neat. To quote Gilbert and Sullivan: “It was managed by a job – and a good job too!”

  14. Mark says:

    Intelligent, informed writing by Dold. Kudos to the Chicago Tribune.

  15. jim robertson says:

    [Comment edited by moderator]

    Your lie that the Church is "paying off like a slot machine". for one.

    Is it? Where?

    And where oh where is your proof?

    Unless you're an American Chemical Company in Bopahl or B.P.  oil in the Gulf does one assume injury to victims willl require no recompense and since your own masters, the corporate Church hierarchy informs you of next to nothing regarding the corporate Church's wealth. (They are a principality , after all.. The last refuge of Divine Right of Kings, (themselves).

    And that's the simple; plain moral truth of it.

    P.S. The majority of victims are heterosexual males, shamed at a time when males were expected to be a certain way. If they don't wish to come forward that's their business.

    But please don't forget we have been manipulated by SNAP connected lawyers, our lawyers to not talk to each other for fear that fakers would attempt to "borrow" our stories.

    It was after all the Church that demanded silence agreements not victims.

    But heterosexual males with kids and grand kids may have reservations about exposing themselves.( I don't but that's my gift to you.)

    The reality of the abuse scandal has colored your dealings with the world and the tact you're taking will get you and the Church nowhere, I'm afraid and that's just sad.

    You have to remember I was once a very staunch Catholic. Very staunch!

    I don't like seeing my ancestors faith questioned in any way due to something hierarchs failed to do.i.e. protect children, Catholic children in particular.

    And all this facade came crashing down when one of the "pillars" us victims stepped away from the silent contract. The contract that victims should keep "stum" that the facade could stand.


  16. jim robertson says:

    Poor Pub I said why I didn't want my parents to know they were old and ill. and I for sure didn't want to have anyone to know.

    But you forget I had 2 witnesses from the time. One guy I told and who reported it and another guy he told.

    And the guy I told spoke about it 40 years later to my lawyers investigator. and I hadn't spoken to him in all that time.

    And there was no slot machine in sight. There still isn't.

  17. PKH says:

    Jim said: “If you’re such big supporters of sex only inside heterosexual marriages and the Church allows Anglican converts and other priests to be married be priests; and you’re not getting enough priestly vocations. Does it take a math genius to figure out you’re going to need more priests and you’re not getting them?”

    What does all that have to do with you being abused by a priest?

    Jim said: “You’re might be right in asking was it because he was celibate or because he was an abuser. I don’t know. If he’d had more natural, and I include homosexual in natural, outlets for his sexuallity would a child have been chosen?”

    Yes! A lot of married men (whom you would say have “natural outlets” for their sexuality) do abuse children. In other words, abusers abuse because they are abusers, not because they are celibate.

  18. Publion says:

    People you "tell" are not witnesses and what they hear is only hearsay. I mean – really – to have bonafide "witnesses" would mean that you and the other party did it in front of people.

    Yes, your parents were old and ill – and maybe you were buying a house at the time (an excuse you came up with when confronted with another whopper on the Philly trial site. The fact is that you said what you said and did (or did not) do what you did (or did not) and there is no reason in the world not to consider skullduggery a possibility in all of this.

    The lawyer's investigator bit – to the extent I can make any sense of it at all – simply reflects the fact that there is no evidence that this whole thing was not created in the workshop 40 years later.

    The "slot machine" bit is not mine; the only problem I have with it is that the Abuse Scam was much more sure of a win than any slot machine could offer.

  19. jim robertson says:

    PKH, If the Pope ever said it's o.k. to marry you'd be all over him saying what a great idea. Celibacy was set up in the Church arbitrarilly and can be removed at any time.

    Yes many married abusers of children exist, No doubt.

    I mention it because  the guilt the Church has placed, not God has placed but the Church has placed, on sexuality is insane.

    It demeans every participant because all fail. You don't think priests masturbate?

    I'm not being rude here. I mean let's get real. Cut the hypocracy and you're already ahead of where you were. Hypocracy is what's causing all your problems with the world.

    I speak about celibacy, simply because I want to.


  20. Publion says:

    While it is nice to see the admission that “Yes, many married abusers of children exist” and while I find  that bit of mimicry in the “No doubt” conclusion especially charming, there is no follow-up of the actual consequence created by the admission: if there are married abusers, then the explanation that celibacy causes abuse is rather substantially undermined.


    And since JR is most useful in this sort of magpie mode – collecting all the various bits of conceptual effluvia floating around on the secularist and victimist ponds and putting them up in short quickie one-liners – then we can imagine that this bit of ‘knowledge’ is firmly embedded, with no significant thought or examination whatsoever, in the minds of a number of groups with agendas that demand profound changes in the Church (with, of course, no serious thought or examination beforehand; ‘just do it!’).


    An ideal which many fail to perfectly fulfill is therefore a ‘demeaning’ ideal … that’s a thought-provoking take on the nature and role of ideals in human life. If you fail, then it’s the ideal’s fault and we should get rid of the ideal. This is sort of what I call the ‘San Francisco Softball’ approach to life: if keeping score and trying to win means that half the players on the field are going to go home having ‘failed’, then we should get rid of ‘score-keeping’ and ‘competition’ and trying-better-next-time or striving for excellence and simply give everybody on the field a trophy at the end of the ‘game’ (such as it remains with all the above subtractions in effect) in order to boost self-esteem. Yah – that’s a great plan.


    Nor do I infer here that JR thought this one up all by himself. I have no doubt that there are a lot of people out there, inside the Church as well as outside the Church, for whom this type of thinking (as it were) is cutting-edge. And yes, I imagine there are even some priests who would hold such a position – which goes to the American episcopacy’s urgent responsibility to spackle up seminary education.


    I’m not sure where “hypocrisy” applies in all of this. The Church – as I have said several times in comments on this site – embraced the kanon approach to law: the ideal is embodied in the law or regulation, and everybody is expected to strive for it and to judge their contemplated or completed actions and behaviors by that ideal. Nowhere is it stated that all Catholics always and perfectly fulfill the ideal. That is a phantasm embraced by others and imposed – for their own convenience and purposes – upon the Church.

  21. jim robertson says:

    Was it Santa's Workshop up at the North Pole?  My highschool friend was a witness to me to what happened and to the consequences of what happened.

    He was called in by the same priest and told to keep mum about what happened.

    You can pretend I'm making it up but funny your Church corporate officers took me very seriously they believed me then: in 1963 when I asked for nothing not even therapy,

    16 year olds are so smart.

    And they believed me when I told them again as an adult 30 years later.

    So maybe you should change your corporate officers if they keep compensating (in your terms:" fake victims" like myself.

  22. Publion says:

    Also, I am still wondering about the logic of this: his parents being “old and ill”, and he wishing to spare them, why did JR go to others (the dean of students and a priest) to tell them, instead of telling them himself? Did he think his parents would be less upset by hearing it from others rather than from their own son?  Or did he at the age of 16 not expect his parents to be informed, while expecting a full prosecution (ecclesial and/or civil) to be conducted against whomever he had accused?  Did he place the dean and the other priest in an impossible position (to conduct or initiate some form of prosecution without telling his parents) such that they could not properly act, and then and now claim that all the adults let him down?


    I do not ask these questions here in order to get into JR’s business – far less because I expect a sufficient and rational and reliably truthful answer. I put these questions up here because I think this type of gambit underlies a number of accusations made long after the event, as is so often the case in this Abuse Matter.


    And so we can see just what sort of dynamics may well have been driving this Thing for so long.

  23. jim robertson says:

    I never said celibacy caused abuse. Never.  [Comment edited by moderator]

    Do I believe celibacy is an engine, in the creation of sexual hysteria and discomfort with in the Church. you betchum.

    Does it add to "grooming" possibilites even probabilities, most likely.

    You know all this "archness", is  you playing who's got the right religion.

    My answer to that hidden agenda is: No one.

    Let's see last week it was Hollywierd, What wit!

    Now this week it's "San Francisco soft ball".

    Could you be anymore dated?

    The left and right coasts of America. Are keeling over with laughter

  24. jim robertson says:

    I think Jesus wanted us just they way we are fresh from God's Kraft Candy Kitchen, Creation.

    You're Church says' Christ want's us new and improved struggeling after an ideal set by man for the benefit, the finiancial benefit of the very men. who came up with the "notion" of celebacy.

    For the power of those few men, people, generations later, must suffer unnecessary physical torture of wrestling down the very sexual nature "God" gave you in the first place.

    I mean justify celibacy. I've heard all the rationals but it still is trying to beat nature for an ideal that benefits Catholics how? And God needs celibacy why? So he can notice us?

  25. PKH says:

    Jim said: “PKH, If the Pope ever said it’s o.k. to marry you’d be all over him saying what a great idea.”

    We will cross that bridge when we get there.

    Jim said: “Celibacy was set up in the Church arbitrarilly and can be removed at any time.”

    Meanwhile, for us Christians Hebrews 13:17 applies, “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

    Jim asked: “You don’t think priests masturbate?”

    No, I have not yet reached that level on insanity of believing things without evidence. What I “think” can not be used as evidence.

    Jim said: “I’m not being rude here. I mean let’s get real. Cut the hypocracy and you’re already ahead of where you were. Hypocracy is what’s causing all your problems with the world.”

    Now we have moved into the mined field of generalizations … I see.

    Jim said: “I speak about celibacy, simply because I want to.”

    Fair enough … actually what you say has nothing to do with you being “a compensated abuse victim” … it has every thing to do with you being an anti celibacy crusader.
    Inadvertently you ended up confirming that this whole thing is not about child abuse but just a pretext for something else.

    • jim robertson says:

      I "crusade" for nothing but victims' rights. I wasn't sexually abused as a 16 year old as a "pretext for something else". I was just abused.

      I quoting from Robert Zimmerman, "Don't follow leaders", I , "Watch for parking meters".

      If you need "evidence' for you to believe that priests masturbate. You are A: not male, and or B not sane.

  26. jim robertson says:

    I recieved over a $1,000,000 not the $12,000 I was initially offered by the Church to me in the '90's.

    It's amazing how you remember everything about my case, wrong.

    If I had broken my leg in a high school football game would the "superiors" who knew I had a broken leg not be held resposible for getting me to a doctor?

    P.S. "My world" as you put it, is not a "swamp".

    Did I call your religious beliefs a "swamp'?

    For a so called Christian you know nothing about Christ.

    "Quarter in the jukebox"?

    Oh, you are younger than spring.

  27. jim robertson says:

    P.S." My high school friend was a witness to me" meant this: He "witnessed" a complete personality change in me and kept asking questions.

    When I thought my perp would murder me. Which I definately thought, I finally answered my friend's questions.

    He then reported it.

  28. PKH says:

    I find that very strange that Jim Robertson, who said that 50 years ago he did not want any one to know that he was abused, but now he suddenly wants every one to know that he was abused.
    That is very strange.

    • jim robertson says:

      50 years ago I was a 16 year old kid who thought I had somehow been so attractive that I was causing this guy to hurt me. I was shamed at a period when  being shamed  destroys.

      After therapy i know where the shame belongs and it has nothing to do with me. It was nothing about me at all. The responsability belongs to the adults.

      I expect you to go ape, you always do. P.

      I wrote a lovely piece today about you and your suppositions. I supposed you to be a sexual abuser yourself but Dave wouldn't print it.

      You can call me every cheap ass insult you can imagine but when I turn the supposition table on you.  I'm edited.

  29. says:

    Thank you, everyone. This thread is closed.

  30. malcolm harris says:

    This website is well conceived and well named. As in reality it is not true that the mass media simply holds up a mirror to society, and only reflects what is going on. The media can over-emphasize stories, for the sake of sensationalism. Alternatively it can downplay stories because of a hidden agenda, such as with 'advocacy journalism'. For example homosexuals seem to get very favourable treatment.

    As a older person would advise everybody to trust their own experience and judgement . Whenever the information in the media is at odds with what you yourself have learned (from personal experience) then you should rely on your personal experience. When forming your own value judgements.

    To my mind this is of crucial importance in regard to what is referred to as the "Stampede". It has happened here in Australia, and manifests itself with some gullible people actually saying "but aren't all priests paedophiles?"

    The reason I totally reject the slander is because of the following personal knowledge. I lived and worked in a provincial city for thirty years, but not once did I hear any suggestion that a priest had abused a child. Recall hearing two separate rumours that priests were having secret affairs with women, but absolutely nothing about child abuse. One young priest even ran away with his g/f and they got married. The community was a hotbed of gossip, usually a new rumour every day of the week. If it had happened (child abuse)  then it could not have remainded a secret, not in that place!

    My wife was born and raised in a different country. Her recollection is very similar to my own. Some gossip about priests having illicit affairs, and one guy being transferred as a result. But nothing about children.

    So nobody will ever convince me to accept the media sensationalism, I'm trusting in my own personal knowledge. Anyway my wife has told me, "it will all be like the Magdalene Laundries, because when evidence examined, it will all fall apart, they just trying to get money out of the Church".

    And she has a uncanny knack of being right.




  31. Fran says:

    Hi Malcolm,
    I too am an Australian and I’m in complete agreement with you. Yes, there have been priests who have committed terrible crimes here too, but the obsession that the media has with this subject is incredible. And the exaggeration! But there is another agenda at work in all this. There are many groups whose aim is to discredit the Catholic church and this issue serves their purposes well. Unfortunately many Catholics just accept what the media dish up unquestioningly.