Abuse Scandal Exposure Continues

Catholic News
January 11, 2003

This story which we are sure is such a pain to everyone who reads this news service is not going away. The international secular media continues to be saturated with stories on the latest revelations, many of them taking a local angle on what has been occurring.

A number of major media outlets actually now have special sections devoted to the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. The icon illustrating this story is taken from the BBC's special section. There are now many court cases proceeding or pending around the world and these are generating coverage in their local areas and much of this is picked up further afield. There is so much coverage now that it has literally become impossible for us to publish every single revelation and development on CathNews. If we wanted to do that there wouldn't be much room for anything else.

Perhaps the three big developments of the last few days that are worth summarising here are that a number of newspapers in the United States have commenced a court action to gain access to secret Church documents in the Archdiocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The documents include about two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by six priests beginning in the late 1960s and continuing until the early 1990s. Most of the victims were altar boys or belonged to church youth organizations. The diocese settled the claims in March 2001 for an undisclosed sum. What is newsworthy about this development is that these are major news organisations seeking the disclosure. They include The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. Our link takes you to the AP via Newsday coverage of this development.

The coverage seems fairly evenly split between reporting of the activities of priests that have brought the Church into discredit and revelations concerning mishandling by bishops once complaints had been lodged. In recent days the Bishop of New Hampshire, John B. McCormack, has come under fire after denying he had any responsibility in the 1980s to report to authorities numerous allegations of clergy sexual abuse on children.

And just a few hours ago, CNN began carrying reports where the Bishop of Arizona, Thomas O'Brien, is coming under fire of allegations of cover-up. Our link takes you to that story.

The other growing development is from the story we reported a few days ago of the research which shows nuns have been the victims of significant abuse. Other secular media have taken this up as we indicated might happen when we reported on the breaking story on Monday. The mainstream Catholic news agency, CNS, is also now carrying a story on these revelations even though the original research was published back in 1998. One of the links below will take you to the CNS coverage.

AP via Newsday "Appeals court to hear arguments over secret church documents"
UPI "Bishop admits shielding abusive priests"
CNN "Arizona Catholic Bishop under fire"
CNS "Study says two-fifths of U.S. nuns suffered some form of sexual abuse"

10 Jan 2003


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