The pope addressed the sex abuse scandal again, and the New York Times coverage was plenty fair, particularly because it put everything into context. The tendency, even amongst good journalists, seems to be that abuse case coverage has been referential: that is, coverage on abuse cases would mention other abuse cases, giving it the appearance of a trend, while each papal statement or action to be reported on in isolation, giving it the appearance of a single, feeble response, or even half-heartedness on the part of the Church.
This article bucks that trend somewhat. The article is primarily about the pope’s address for the closing of the Year For Priests. It is significant that he chose on such a high-profile occassion, a Church-wide celebration of priests which drew thousands of priests to St. Peter’s Square, to once more denounce the sex abuse scandal, and pledge to do everything possible to prevent future abuse. And the article does a good job of teasing that out, but it goes further, tying this speech in with his letter to the Irish bishops, with his recent comments about sex abuse (and the dangers to the Church from within) in his homilies in Portugal, an even a front-page article from L’Osservatore Romano. A fair-minded reader’s take-away would rightly be that this is a pope who genuinely cares about this issue, and who isn’t afraid to publicly call out those wolves amongst the sheep. So cheers to NYT’s Rachel Donadio for her fair coverage and good writing, and three cheers for Pope Benedict XVI for being the pope we need in this time of crisis!
EDIT: Diogenes, not such a fan.