Media Exaggerated Abuse Scandal, Vatican Official Says

Boston Globe [Vatican City]
October 11, 2003

VATICAN CITY -- The media have exaggerated a sex scandal that has shaken the US Roman Catholic Church and unfairly tainted thousands of priests with overzealous coverage, Pope John Paul II's top aide said yesterday.

"The scandals in the United States received disproportionate attention from the media," Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the secretary of state, said in an interview. "There are thieves in every country, but it's hard to say that everyone is a thief."

Boston was the epicenter of a scandal that swept the United States last year after it was discovered that several dioceses had transferred priests known to have abused children from parish to parish without alerting the public.

Sodano, 75, who is second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, said there are more than 48,000 US priests, and "the vast majority are generous pastors."

Speaking in the ornate chambers of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Sodano asked, "Why should there be so much aggressiveness toward them, and so many unjust generalizations?"

Despite the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law last December, the effects of the scandal still linger.

On Thursday, in a veiled reference to the scandals, the pope decried the behavior of some priests. "The scandalous behavior of a few has undermined the credibility of many," he said.


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