Friday, June 18, 2010

Ulterior motive for media attention on Catholic Church: Please stop talking

The Catholic Church has come under tremendous fire by the media in recent years concerning the sexual abuse scandal. Obviously it's good to look at mistakes and grave sins that happened in the Church and it is important to remove the "filth" as Pope Benedict calls it. But many have noticed the Church is being unfairly treated when it comes to these allegations.

Many groups have been implicated in child sexual abuse beside the Catholic Church including many other Christian denominations, the boy scouts, swimming instructors, and teachers. Some believe teachers have abused students at a rate 4 times higher than priests, and that they too were shifted around to different schools, etc. Most of the Church abuse happened decades ago.

But it took a comedy program to show me an ulterior motive for this disproportionate coverage. On Jon Stewart's Daily Show, one of his comedy reporters interviewed a group of nuns and priests who are critical of financial malpractice by some large organizations. The point of the Daily Show segment was how ironic it was that the Church would be against this, given the crimes the church has committed.

The reported kept mockingly referring to the sex abuse scandal and saying things like "So, you think people should listen to.... you?" Whenever the priest or nun brought up a valid point about one of the wrongdoings of a financial institution, the interviewer would make a strange face and say something like "riiight, so the financial institutions do that! ohh".

It struck me that what the media wants is for the Church to feel so ashamed of its activities that it will not speak up against any evil or injustice. It doesn't matter if any of the accusations against the church are true. All that matters is that the Church is silenced. I've actually seen this strategy many times before. When the Church speaks out on any issue whatsoever, someone is bound to bring up sex abuse allegations as some sort of proof that the Church should just but out.

I am starting to realize one of the main goals of the media coverage of the Church - to remove in people's minds its moral authority. Obviously this is totally absurd. There has been abuse in the church, but the vast majority of people in the Church, such as priests and nuns, are innocent. They have valid points to make and deserve to be heard.

The media and many individuals do not like hearing what the Church has to say. They only want approval for their actions. The Church speaks the Truth, and people are trying hard to silence the Truth.

Imagine a school where there are 50 teachers. One teacher is accused of sexual abuse. Now, imagine someone saying that no one should listen to any of the teachers in the school because of this. The school has no authority to teach anything because of what this teacher did. That would be absurd.

But there is also a logical fallacy being committed here. Even if the Church committed a crime, that does not render what it says about other areas false. If the Church criticizes a crime committed by financial institutions, it is a logical fallacy to say that because the Church did something else, they must be wrong on everything. I do not agree with what Hitler did, but if Hitler said 2+2 = 4, I would say he is correct. But this example of the Church assumes that the entire Church did something wrong. Even then, it would be a logical fallacy. But what about the real situation, where only 1-2% of priests ever abused anyone and almost all of it happened decades ago? In that case, it's even more illogical.

As Catholics, we must stand up against those who want to silence the Church. The Church has a God-given duty to defend the Truth, whether or not anyone wants to hear it.

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