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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 12/12/02 04:19:34 PM
   
         
         
   

New York Post Defames Pope John Paul II

Somebody ought to get fired for having done this.

I won't go into very much detail, because St. Blog's (or, Mark Shea's place, at the least) has been alive today with the news that Kate Sheehy (the writer), some unknown editor(s), and the New York Post have libelled Pope John Paul II:

Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law was just following orders from his boss - Pope John Paul II - when he sent suspected pedophile priests back to work in parishes with kids, a damning church document reveals.
The pope, in a 1999 order defrocking a Boston priest with a history of molesting boys, acknowledged that the man "ought to live away from the place where his previous condition is known." ....

They have defamed a great and good man, and they have done so with incredible and demonstrable stupidity.

The pope was doing what everybody says ought to be done: defrocking a priest who has sexually abused children. How on earth this can be reconciled with the claim that Law "was just following orders" from the pope to reassign pedophile priests is beyond reason or imagination.

Moreover, the "previous condition" referred to here is, I surmise, his having been a priest in active ministry not a pedophile. (I'm willing to accept correction on that last point, though. After all, we have little context to work with, and I assume we are also working with a translation from Latin.)

Do you see what happened? The pope agreed to defrock a child molester. He then suggested that the man live away from places where he is known to have been a priest in active ministry; but, he allowed that the man might stay where he is known if it does not trouble people's consciences. That's it. That's all. The New York Post transmogrified this into the pope having told the cardinal to reassign the priest without telling anybody about his pedophilia.

Why do I say this libel is demonstrably stupid? Because the fact that it is a libel can be deduced from the very article itself. And without too much thought, either.

I know... I know... excuses abound. They were desperate for a scoop... it was 2.5 seconds before deadline... whatever. Fine.

But excuses are only that: excuses. I doubt very much that this kind of crap would be shovelled out by a big-name newspaper if it were, say, Bill Clinton or George Bush who was being libelled. They'd check and double check and redouble check. And probably run it past the lawyers, too.

It's too bad the pope probably isn't inclined to suing anybody: he could make a killing, I think.

P.S. Important note for reporters: it is not a scoop if it is not true. Didn't they cover that in J school?

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 12/12/02 04:19:34 PM
Categorized as Pope John Paul the Great & Religious.

   
         
         

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