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Monday, 17 May 2010

Lateline a Bishop & Abuse - Recipe for a Sensation

It seems that the recent media attempts to link the Holy Father with cases of child abuse are increasingly using devious, sensantionalist and deceptive devices to achieve a particular impression including:

1. Time conflation; conflating several decades and given the impression that the events occured in the recent past rather than 30 years ago.

2. Missuse of titles: calling people by their current titles or positions even though at the time of the event they did not occupy the same position of authority - thus giving the appearance that (or at least creating a confusion in peoples minds) that it happened more recently and by someone in greater authority eg. Pope Benedict rather than Cardinal Ratzinger or the Archbishop of Munich Friesing as the case may have been.

3. Using misleading termanology: such as defrock (which is a laymans term (no longer being able to function as a priest it has no cannonical meaning - suspension being the closest thing) and confusing it with layasisation (an ecclesiastical punishment - which cannot be confused with civil punishments) desplaying a completely wilful ignorance of ecclesiastical law and process e.g. "he was not defrocked until 5 years latter" meaning that he was not layasised for five year despite his actual suspension from all duties.

Last night's Lateline programme on the ABC used all of the above devises and more - We were led to believe that a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church was aware of child abuse and did nothing.  The truth seems to be that a young uninquisitive curate/assistant priest was blithely unaware that child abuse was going on a few rooms away. The victim claims that Father (not bishop) Wilson saw him enter and depart the building and presumes from this that he must have known what was going on.  Must he have?

Given the post Vatican II "dawn of a new age" feeling in the church in the early 70's taking people to your room as priest for private spiritual direction or even confession could have been a possiblity - however stupid the idea may seem now. One could perhaps deduce from the facts that the young Fr Wilson was uninquistive or even naive - but to devote an entire programme to attempting to connect him with these matters at a deeper level must be considered malicious not to mention an attempt to question the crediblity of the Catholic Church in the country.

These devices are amongst the lowest of journalistic tactics hitherto seen and are an absolute disgrace - all self respecting victims of clerical sexual abuse are utterly scandalised by the way in which their abuse is being exploited and twisted by the media.  The abused look for justice not exploitation.

1 comment:

Daughter of Eve said...

You might consider posting this comment a little more widely Sibyl- the media and media followers need to hear it.