Introducing an interview with Cardinal Cormac Murphey O'Conner, John Humphrys set the scene by a lurid and exaggerated account of the turmoil in which the Church finds itself at present.
It is quite true that there have been scandals, but his rhetoric was overblown for a broadcasting institution that prides itself on balance. In particular, his claim that 'the words paedophile and priest have become almost synonymous,' was gratuitously offensive.
It is a grave slur on the vast majority of Catholic priests, both in this country and throughout the world.
Clearly even one priest committing a sin of that nature is calamitous; and there is no doubt that there have been many.
However, they still represent only a very small number of priests; and as an occupational group, Catholic priests are statistically much less likely to be abusers than, say, teachers. Yet one cannot imagine Humphrys having the temerity to say that 'the words paedophile and teacher have become almost synonymous.'
We need to keep this in mind; on the one hand we should pray and do penance for the reality of sin within the Church (about which I have blogged previously) but on the other, we should be ready to resist the media's gross mischaracterisation of the Church and the vast majority of our priests.
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