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Associated Press Tries to Paint Church as Racist

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
Dec. 1, 2023

NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2023 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Bill Donohue, President, Catholic League:

    As I pointed out in my book, The Truth about Clergy Sexual Abuse: Clarifying the Facts and the Causes, the scandal in the Catholic Church mostly occurred between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. But don't tell that to the Associated Press (AP). They have a vested ideological reason for continuing the myth that nothing has changed. Worse, they are now suggesting the Church is racist.

    "In the US, Black Survivors Are Nearly Invisible in the Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis." This story, published November 29, is factually wrong. There is no "crisis" going on today. So the best the AP can do is to write a story on the situation in Maryland: some alleged victims from decades ago are coming forward seeking cash now that the statute of limitations has been lifted.

    The latest data on the clergy sexual abuse found that between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, there were 16 allegations made by minors during that time, seven of which were substantiated. That means that of the 52,387 members of the clergy, .013 percent of them had a substantiated allegation made against him. There is no institution in the nation where adults intermingle with minors on a regular basis which can match this outcome.

    AP reported none of this. It could not. If it did it wouldn't have a story. But since they can't get the Church on this issue today, they've decided to play the racist card.

    When I read this story, I wondered how the AP managed to come up with data showing a racist element in the abuse scandal. They didn't. There aren't any.

    The AP admits that "The U.S. Catholic Church generally does not publicly track the race or ethnicity of clergy sexual abuse victims." AP also struck out looking for data from the government. Referring to the report by the Maryland Attorney General's office, it said it "leaves out any context about race."

    So if there are no data to support the AP claim that there is a "crisis" in the Church today, and there are no data to prove the Church is racist, what's left to discuss? Anecdote. That's it.

    We learn about the plight of the Webster family where a young girl was abused by a priest. This is horrendous, but what does it have to do with the thrust of the AP story? The offense took place in 1993 and the priest was convicted and thrown out of the priesthood. Moreover, the Baltimore archdiocese wrote them a check for $2.7 million.

    There is more to this story than contemporary anecdotes. The reporter alleges there was racism in the Church in Baltimore in 1829! What a shocker. That really proves the Catholic Church, unlike every other institution in American society, had a racial problem decades before the Civil War.

    If the AP did a story on black victims of sexual abuse in the public schools in Baltimore today, it would have enough information to fill a local public library, but they wouldn't go near it. Nor will they do a story on all the black families in Baltimore who favor school choice and would like to send their children to a Catholic school.

    We've been tracking and writing about bias in AP stories for decades. What is so ironic is that we have data on them that they don't have on the Catholic Church. But the nation's largest wire service, which is funded by dozens of left-wing foundations, is rarely held accountable for its unprofessionalism.

    Contact: Daisy Veerasingham, AP CEO: dveerasingham@ap.org

SOURCE Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

CONTACT: 212-371-3191, pr@catholicleague.org