Jack Cafferty Continues Misleading Spin on Catholic Church Scandal

Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgOn Monday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty continued his attack on Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, devoting his fourth commentary in 12 days on the Church sex abuse scandal. Cafferty spun a recent comment by a high-ranking cardinal who denounced the media's campaign of innuendo against the Pope as "petty gossip," falsely portraying it as being about the abuse itself.

The commentator devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour "Cafferty File" segment to the scandal. After detailing the impact of the scandal in "the Pope's native Germany," Cafferty launched his latest spin on the Church hierarchy's reaction to the issue:
CAFFERTY: Meanwhile, Easter Sunday has come and gone with little from the Church. The Pope passed up yet another opportunity to address the scandal in his address. But we did get this: while defending the pope, one top Vatican cardinal denounced- quote, 'petty gossip,' unquote. That's what he called the accusations of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests- 'petty gossip.'
First of all, Pope Benedict XVI has addressed this scandal, not just in recent days. There's his pastoral letter from two weeks ago on the sex abuse in Ireland, where he noted the "often inadequate response" and apologized to the victims there. Exactly two years ago this month, during his visit to the United States, the pontiff held a private meeting with some of the victims of the abuse. He addressed the scandal during his homily at a Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. During a later trip that year to Australia, he apologized for the sex abuse in that country as well.

Moreover, the cardinal that the commentator referenced- Cardinal Angelo Sodano- was actually criticizing the widespread media speculation that the Pope himself had a direct hand in covering up the abuse, before he was elected in 2005. He wasn't calling the accusations "petty gossip," as Cafferty portrayed it. This is clear from the context of his remarks: "We are rallying around you....We are deeply grateful for the strength of soul and the apostolic courage with which you proclaim Christ’s Gospel....The People of God are with you. They do not let themselves be frightened by the [petty] 'gossip' of the moment, by the trials that sometimes befall the community of believers."

Caffery later insinuated that the Catholic Church cared more about money than for the care of souls: "My guess is when the money that hits the collection plates every Sunday begins to dry up, the Church may suddenly decide it's time to admit, address and confess what they've been only too willing to turn a blind eye to for years and years and years. And by then, it might be too late." They've already admitted and confessed, Jack, numerous times, and they're already in the process of addressing it. It's just that you and your cohorts in the media can't be bothered to notice.

The CNN commentator devoted three earlier commentaries on March 25, March 31, and April 1 to bashing Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center