Cultural Revolutions

Scandals in the Church

The Roman Catholic Church in the United States must regard 2002 as one of the most traumatic years in Her history.  Any Catholic who hoped that the media might eventually find a new subject for horror stories would have been further disheartened this past January, when television and print media suggested that a whole new chapter was about to open in the ongoing abuse scandals.  After a year of cases reputedly involving child abuse and “pedophilia,”  the headlines suddenly screamed of the victimization of nuns, who apparently were being violated in astonishing numbers.  Within days of the original story, the claim that 40 percent of American nuns had been raped or molested, usually by priests, had become a social fact, part of the common currency of charges against the Catholic Church.  With solemn determination, American lawyers began to face the task—thankless but, nevertheless, immensely profitable—of litigating on behalf of this new category of victims.

It might already be too late to stem this particular tide, but before we get too far into this latest “crisis,” we should note that the whole Nun Affair presented by the media is profoundly misleading and founded on very weak evidence.  The fact that claims were broadcast so widely, and in such hysterical terms, is stark testimony to the loathing with which much of the U.S. media seems to regard the Catholic Church...

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