Anti-Catholi­cism and the New York Times

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

“Anti-Catholi­cism,” said writer Peter Viereck, “is the an­tiSemitism of the in­tel­lec­tual.” It is “the deep­es­theld bias in the his­tory of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said Arthur Sch­lesinger Sr.

If there was any doubt that ha­tred of and hos­til­ity to­ward the Catholic Church per­sists, it was re­moved by the mob that has arisen howl­ing “Re­sign!” at Pope Bene­dict XVI.

To Amer­i­can Catholics, the story of pe­dophile priests en­gaged in crim­i­nal abuse of chil­dren, of per­vert priests se­duc­ing boys, is un­for­tu­nately all too fa­mil­iar. That some bish­ops cov­ered up for pe­dophiles and se­duc­ers and en­abled cor­rupt clergy to con­tinue to prey on boys was equally dis­grace­ful.

But to Amer­i­can Catholics, this is an old story. The priests have been de­frocked, some sent to prison, like John Geoghan, who was stran­gled in his cell. Bish­ops have been re­moved. “Zero tol­er­ance” has been pol­icy for a decade.

Pope Bene­dict came to Amer­ica to apol­o­gize for what th­ese men did. And no one has been more ag­gres­sive in root­ing out what he calls the “filth” in the church. And as the re­cent scan- dals have hit Ire­land and Ger­many, why the at­tack on the pope here in Amer­ica?

An­swer: The New York Times is con­duct­ing a vendetta against this tra­di­tion­al­ist pope in news sto­ries, editorials and col­umns. “Vat­i­can De­clined to De­frock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys,” blared the head­line over a Lau­rie Goodstein story that be­gan thus: “Top Vat­i­can of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing the fu­ture Pope Bene­dict XVI — did not de­frock a priest who mo­lested as many as 200 deaf boys [. . .]

“In 1996, Car­di­nal Ratzinger failed to re­spond to two let­ters about the case from Rem­bert G. Weak­land, Milwaukee’s arch­bishop at that time.” The facts: That diabolical priest, Lawrence C. Mur­phy, was as­signed to St. John’s School for the Deaf in 1950, be­fore Joseph Ratzinger was even or­dained.

Re­ports of his abuse of the deaf chil­dren sur­faced in the 1950s. But, un­der three arch­bish­ops, noth­ing was done. Po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors were alerted by par­ents of the boys. Noth­ing was done.

Weak­land, who be­came arch­bishop in 1977, did not write to Rome un­til 1996.

And as John Allen of Na­tional Catholic Re­porter noted last week, Car­di­nal Ratzinger “did not have any di­rect re­spon­si­bil­ity for manag­ing the over­all Vat­i­can re­sponse to the cri­sis un­til 2001. [. . .] Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had noth­ing per­son­ally to do with the vast ma­jor­ity of sex abuse cases, even the small per­cent­age which wound up in Rome.”

By the time Car­di­nal Ratzinger was com­mis­sioned by John Paul II to clean out the sta­ble, Mur­phy had been dead for three years.

Yet here is Times colum­nist Mau­reen Dowd’s sum­ma­tion of the case:

“Now we learn the sick­en­ing news that Car­di­nal Joseph Ratzinger, nick­named ‘God’s Rotweiler,’ when he was the church’s en­forcer on mat­ters of faith and sin, ig­nored re­peated warn­ings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Mur­phy, a Wis­con­sin priest who mo­lested as many as 200 deaf boys.”

In Ms. Goodstein’s piece, Mr. Weak­land is a prelate who acted too slowly. The con­tro­versy over his clouded de­par­ture from the Milwaukee arch­dio­cese is men­tioned and passed over at the bot­tom of the story. It be­longed higher.

For Mr. Weak­land was a ho­mo­sex­ual who con­fessed in a 1980 let­ter he was in “deep love” with a male paramour who shook down the arch­bishop for $450,000 in church funds as hush money to keep his lover’s mouth shut about their squalid af­fair.

Ac­cord­ing to Rod Dre­her, Mr. Weak­land moved Fa­ther William Effin­ger, who would die in prison, from parish to parish, know­ing Mr. Effin­ger was a se­rial ped­erast.

When one of Mr. Effin­ger’s vic­tims sued the arch­dio­cese but lost be­cause of a statute of lim­i­ta­tions, Mr. Weak­land counter-sued and ex­tracted $4,000 from the vic­tim of his preda­tor priest.

Mr. Dre­her de­scribes Mr. Weak­land’s ten­ure thus:

“He di­rected Catholic schools [. . .] to teach kids how to use con­doms as part of AIDS ed­u­ca­tion and ap­proved a graphic sexe­d­u­ca­tion pro­gram for parochial-school kids that taught ‘there is no right and wrong’ on the is­sues of abor­tion, con­tra- cep­tion and pre­mar­i­tal sex. He has ad­vo­cated for gay rights and women’s or­di­na­tion, bit­terly at­tacked Pope John Paul II, de­nounced pro-lif­ers as ‘fun­da­men­tal­ist’ and de­clared that one could be both pro-choice and a Catholic in good stand­ing.”

Speak­ing of sex-abuse vic­tims in 1988, Mr. Weak­land was quoted: “Not all ado­les­cent vic­tims are so in­no­cent. Some can be sex­u­ally very ac­tive and ag­gres­sive and of­ten street­wise.”

Just the kind of priest the Times loves, and just the kind of source on whom the Times re­lies when sav­aging the pope and bash­ing the church.

As the Catholic League’s Bill Don­ahue re­lates, 80 per­cent of the vic­tims of priestly abuse have been males and “most of the mo­lesters gays.”

And as the Times’ Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Les­bian Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion 10 years ago, of­ten, “three-quar­ters of the peo­ple de­cid­ing what’s on the front page are not-so-clos­eted ho­mo­sex­u­als.”

Is there per­haps a con­flict of in­ter­est at The New York Times, when cov­er­ing a tra­di­tion­al­ist Catholic pope?

Pat Buchanan is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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