Perhaps it is the right time for all Catholics worldwide to garner support for the bashing the secular press is giving to Pope Benedict XVI. As the visible head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict is an easy target for the secular press and collective media that has any type of anti-Catholic grudge that offers at opportunity at sensationalism. Some secular journalists are waging a ad hominem attack against the Pope as a larger delivery method of anti-Catholic rhetoric.
The personal attacks aimed at Benedict XVI are not justified and reflect a growing and pervasive attempt to discredit the activities of good priests, bishops and religious of both sexes that faithfully serve the world’s Catholic faithful without any involvement in scandals. While there are quite a few examples of sexual abuse that are surfacing throughout the Catholic world, most of the reported cases are extremely dated and quite frankly old. When these cases are considered, Catholics and indeed all observers need to ask why the allegations of abuse were unreported for decades by scores of allegedly abused victims.
Now before anyone gets miffed at my points, I categorically state that there is never any justification for abuse of any kind towards anyone at the hands of priests, bishops, and religious or for that matter anyone else. My thoughts are simply this, why is so much time and consideration taken for cases involving priests that are long dead? The real concern should be the consideration of the present situation of the Church throughout the world and scrupulously seek out current situations that provide opportunities for sexual abuse in our Catholic facilities.
Anyone that has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest at any time needs to come forward, present themselves and follow prescribed protocols for civil prosecution of these allegations. Unfortunately, it seems many Catholic priests have been accused of sexual misconduct, but there has not been any follow up with criminal prosecution and judicial disposition.
It is time for both victims of sexual abuse and Catholic Church officials to implement a zero tolerance policy that follows a clear direction that starts with the initial allegations. Namely, if indeed allegations towards a Catholic priest are lodged, civil authorities must be immediately notified and the victim needs to pursue criminal charges against the accused priest.
The system of due process here in the United States needs to be implemented all around the world. If allegations are raised, the priest needs to be removed from active ministry pending the results of criminal investigation and pending criminal charges. If in fact the victim is not willing to file anytime of civil charges against the priest…then the matter needs the utmost investigation on the part of the local diocese and responsible parties for review of the entire situation that forced the allegations to come to light.
However, priests alleged of criminal abuse have the protection of our American system of legal protection. They are indeed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Settlements of any monetary nature that are intended to subvert and evade the American judicial process are not acceptable and should be avoided by all bishops. Many priests have had their religious lives ruined by allegations without any type of due process of law, which has violated their rights and made them victims as well.
In regards to Pope Benedict XVI, global Catholics should rally in support of the Holy Father and not only pray for his continued perseverance in handling this painful scandal, but also visibly support him by our actions and prayers. This author intends to continue to write articles that support the Holy Father. Catholics everywhere need to start flying the papal flag, wear a Support Pope Benedict XVI button and stop the personal attacks on him.
If in fact any other religious leader was publicly attacked by the secular media, there would be a religious jihad, a boycott, a stoppage of work or even a military attack by the Israeli air force.
The religious communities of the world’s religions would not tolerate any inappropriate representations of the Great Prophet of Islam, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem would never be subjected to such personal attacks and any number of minor luminaries in the Hollywood sphere of self-proclaimed importance would ever tolerate any degradation of their personal beliefs or behaviors.
Catholics should not tolerate any such activities against our Pope, our Catholic Church or our Catholic faith. Regardless of the allegations of misbehavior lodged against any member of the Catholic Clergy, Pope Benedict bashing is wrong and unjustified.
Catholics defend the Pope, our Faith and our Sacred Beliefs…withdraw support of any means to any group that continues to persecute our Holy Father personally or for any other unjustified reason. Secular journalism should not wage war against the entire Catholic Church by means of journalistic terrorism against Pope Benedict XVI by seeking an end to his pontificate.
If anything, secular journalists with inclinations to sensationalize the use of the press for anti-Catholic purposes need to sit back and consider all of the great contributions the Catholic Church has made to our global community throughout history…starting with the most basic forms of Church journalism that we call, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
In closing, I would like to invoke the phrase first formulated into a musical rendition by the Very Reverend Msgr. Hugh Henry, the Vatican Swan in the 19th century & a fellow St. Charles Borromeo Seminary haunter, “Long Live the Pope of Rome!”

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://nothing-left-unsaid.blogspot.com . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at http://graysferrygrapevine.blogspot.com . He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange, Pewsitter.com, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal,CatholicMom.com. & Catholic.net Comments are always welcome at hjmn4566@gmail.com.

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