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Top ten religion news stories of 2002

The Religion Newswriters Association has published a top ten news stories for the past year. The poll was taken amongst members of the Association. For the third time in two decades revelations of clergy sexual abuse have topped the poll -- in fact, four of the top five stories were dealing with this issue.

This is the opening of the story carried in the Naples Daily News by Terry Mattingly of the Scripps Howard News Service...

Archbishop Joseph Foley was speaking to an audience of Catholic communications officers and editors, so he made sure that he didn't bury his most important statement.

The first principle of dealing with the news media, he told a Vatican conference in 2001, was simple: "Never, never, never tell a lie." Then the president of the Pontifical Office for Social Communications offered more advice that would prove to be prophetic.

"Truth will always come out," he said. "Failure to tell the truth is a scandal, a betrayal of trust and a destroyer of credibility.

So sacred is the responsibility to tell the truth that one must be ready to accept dismissal for refusal to tell a lie." Principles of openness and honesty were tested as never before during 2002 as another wave of scandal hit the Catholic Church. In the end, members of the Religion Newswriters Association selected the clergy sexual abuse scandal as the year's most important news event. Four of the poll's top five stories were linked to the scandal and Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was named newsmaker of the year.

The RNA occasionally offers a dubious prize its "Into the Darkness Award" to the group that has done the most to hide information from the media and the public. This year, it was awarded to the American Catholic hierarchy.

For the list of the top ten stories go to the full story (link below).

Footnote: Unfortunately we cannot give you a ranking of the most viewed stories on CathNews over the past twelve months because changes were made to our servers and the records are too difficult to compile. We can report though that in the past three months it appears the two most read stories on our website was series of reports published on 5 November concerning the abuse scandals and headed by a story about The Little Pebble facing sexual assault charges. The stories can be found here: The runner-up was a report on a Air Crash in Manila where 14 people died including a Sydney man. The story, which was published on 12 November, can be found here:


30 Dec 2002