Friday, August 08, 2003

No, You Think?

CBS distorted the document?

From Catholic World News (CWN):

"A CBS network news report, claiming that the Holy See orchestrated a cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, is based on a gross misinterpretation of a 1962 Vatican document.

In a sensationalist report aired on August 6, CBS Evening News claimed to have discovered a secret document proving that the Vatican had approved-- and even demanded-- a longstanding policy of covering up clerics' sexual misdeeds.

The document cited by CBS does nothing of the sort.

In fact the network's story misrepresented the Vatican document so thoroughly that it is difficult to attribute the inaccuracy to honest error.

The CBS story is based on a secret Instruction issued to bishops in March 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, then the prefect of the Holy Office (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). That document sets forth the canonical procedures to be followed when a priest is charged with the ecclesiastical crime of 'solicitation'-- that is, using the confessional to tempt penitents to engage in sexual activity. "