Vatican journal accuses US media of "anti-Catholic vendetta" over scandals coverage
A Vatican-sanctioned journal has attacked the US media for "morbid" behaviour in its coverage of a child sex scandal and denounced what it called anti-Catholic attitudes that portrayed priests as monsters.
The article will appear tomorrow in the fortnightly Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, which is considered extremely authoritative because its articles are approved by the Vatican.
The article, the journal's second in two weeks on the scandal that has shaken the US Catholic Church to its core, also said Pope John Paul II was concerned that priests accused of abusing minors should not be subjected to "summary trials".
One part of the nine-page article implicitly criticised the US television networks for coming to Rome in such great numbers and placing media equipment outside the Vatican to cover a meeting on the US crisis in April.
"Such a deployment of equipment gave the impression that, beyond the objective, grave and dramatic facts and the legitimate and rightful reaction to such a phenomenon, the entire episode was accompanied by a lot of morbid and scandalistic curiosity," it said.
Another section of the article, which was an overview of the scandal, suggested that some media had handled the story in a knee-jerk fashion, gloating over the church's problems.
"For many newspapers and television stations maybe it seemed too good to be true to be able to slap the monster of the day on the front page, and this time it was the turn of the Catholic clergy," it said.
The article said the American media coverage of the child sex scandals had been influenced by what it called an "anti-Catholic and therefore anti-Roman and anti-papist" spirit. It said the media applied "apparent fair play" in its coverage of the scandal, but said an underlying anti-Catholic attitude had "snaked its way through America recently".
La Civilta' Cattolica
31 May 2002