Pope 'recycles' old abuse excuses & defenses. What's next?

The Associated Press' Rome bureau reports that Pope Francis is now “using the defensive rhetoric of the Vatican from a decade ago.”


Like “no one's done more” on abuse than the church. And only the church is “attacked” over child sex crimes.

With the pope recycling old, discredited myths about the abuse crisis, what’s next? Will he trot out these silly but hurtful claims too:

--Pope Benedict's 2010 claim that the crisis is “petty gossip."


--Pope Benedict's 2002 claim that "In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type." 


(The truth: "The U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,275 priests in 1950-2011, or 5.7% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active since 1950," according to BishopAccountability.org)

 --Cardinal Edward Egan 2012 gems like “I don’t think we did anything wrong” and “I’m very proud of how this thing was handled” and “I believe the sex abuse thing was incredibly good” and “There really wasn’t much . . .  hidden” and “I do think it’s time to get off this subject.”


--The now-retired Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland's claim that “some adolescent sex abuse victims were 'not so innocent' and were sexually active, streetwise and aggressive.”


--Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga's 2003 claim that The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe as ''protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against the church'' and his claim that the media had covered the abuse scandal with ''a fury which reminds me of the times of Diocletian and Nero and more recently, Stalin and Hitler.''


We could go on and on.

Fortunately, however, myths are myths, whether repeated by someone popular or unpopular.

And since, according to this pope, the church is supposedly the only institution “attacked” on abuse, will Francis someday repeat Cardinal Bernard Law's famous line "By all means we call down God’s power on the media?”


(Thanks to Peter, Joelle, Steve, and Anne)

Showing 7 comments

  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-09-04 15:54:27 -0500
    Well Fred, you can go right on ahead and dismiss whatever it is you like, however I think it’s a bit arrogant of you to claim to know what a “true follower of Christ” is. And calling someone paranoid just makes you seem the type who steadfastly thinks inside a box no matter the evidence. In fact, if Christ were right here typing to you on this very platform, you and so many others would call even HIM a “paranoid conspiracy nut”. Oh yes you would. If you were alive with him 2000 years ago, you would have called him a lunatic for making certain claims about the Scribes and Pharisees. Believe it or not, you have much still to learn, as we all have. Not everything is what the TV tells us it is. It’s really not. So please stop claiming to know what a true follower of Christ is about, when you’re not exactly aware of it either.
  • Jim Stephens
    commented 2014-09-04 12:10:03 -0500
    The question is often asked, “Why didn’t the kids tell their parents?” In some cases, they weren’t able to. For example, at Linton Hall Military School (a boarding school for boys ages 6-16) outgoing mail had to be handed in unopened. This was under the pretext that if the school wanted to send a note to your parents, they could save on postage by including it in the envelope. In fact, f you said anything too negative about the school, the letter would be thrown away and not mailed. See more at
  • Fred Keyes
    commented 2014-05-20 11:39:31 -0500
    Some good people?” That truly is a paranoid statement and to any true follower of Christ is easy to dismiss. There have always been and surely will continue to be enemies of the Church. That these enemies have ever prevailed or will ever prevail is sheer nonsense to any believer. It is far more likely that those who would reform the Church are themselves guilty of persecuting the Truth. Just look at the plethora of religions the Reformation spawned. Look at who extremists of the other major religions (Hindus, Muslims) target. Meanwhile anyone active in their own local parish daily witnesses the fruits of the Church. It’s pretty easy for me to see these good outcomes—“By their fruits shall you know them.” Likewise it’s not that hard to identify the culprits—the priest way back when who abused me….the bishop who thought he was squelching scandal but instead badly mishandled the disciplinary process and failed to use civil law to the Church’s advantage. But the pendulum swung for me the other way—much farther than the awful swing in the wrong direction. I’ve met a lifetime’s worth of supportive clergy and therapists since then. Scourge them if you must; it’s expected and it’s probative of Christ’s prediction.

    Balance, my friend, balance.
  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-05-18 15:25:27 -0500
    Be careful though Fred. There HAS been an infiltration into the Catholic clergy for decades now by avowed enemies of Christ. Some say the infiltration has been done by Freemasons (who are Satan worshipers), and as huge as this phenomenon is, it seems abundantly plain to me. Of course there are still some good people in the church, but the bad ones blend right in, which is the point. So don’t be too hasty in calling people “paranoid”. And as the old saying goes, “just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t happening”. Either way, we’ll find out the truth on Judgement Day.
  • Fred Keyes
    commented 2014-05-05 12:09:31 -0500
    SNAP has been a great help to me—no two ways. However as evil and undeserved as the abuse was that I suffered at the hands of a priest (as well as those who covered it up), it offends me that SNAP—in items like this one go to the opposite end of the spectrum and attack the Church in a manner that can only be characterized as bigoted, paranoid, and anti-Catholic.. In my experience the overwhelming majority of bishops, priests and the faithful are horrified by what happened and have moved, and continue to move aggressively, to eradicate this evil. Making enemies of those in the Church who are honestly trying to make things better only obfuscates and delays salutary solutions.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-03-06 19:55:02 -0600
    They are recalcitrant. That does not mean that they are not guilty. To SNAP I say, please STAY STRONG in this battle, and take cover, during their barage of old excuses and “defenses” that are actually nothing less than, futher attacks on the victims. I want to say to the pope and the other catholic laity who are guilty of these heinous crimes: Be ashamed! Confess your involvement and crimes, TO THE WORLD, and to GOD. Be contrite and most importantly, do ALL that you can to STOP THIS ABUSE from continuing and from going forward. In God’s and Jesus’ and the Holy Spirit’s name, I pray.
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