Defending the family

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Vatican Returns Fire On New York Times


In an unusual move, last night the Vatican responded to several stories in the Times alleging that Joseph Ratzinger mishandled several sex abuse cases before he became Pope Benedict XVI, coverage that has thrown the international Church into turmoil.

The essay was penned by Cardinal William Levada, who succeeded the pope as head of the Vatican's doctrinal department. Levada made a plea for fairness for Pope Benedict under the headline "The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI: how it looks to an American in the Vatican," accusing Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein "of anachronistic conflation" and of "rushing to a guilty verdict" against the Pope. Levada concluded:

As a full-time member of the Roman Curia, the governing structure that carries out the Holy See's tasks, I do not have time to deal with the Times's subsequent almost daily articles by Rachel Donadio and others, much less with Maureen Dowd's silly parroting of Goodstein's "disturbing report." But about a man with and for whom I have the privilege of working, as his "successor" Prefect, a pope whose encyclicals on love and hope and economic virtue have both surprised us and made us think, whose weekly catecheses and Holy Week homilies inspire us, and yes, whose pro-active work to help the Church deal effectively with the sexual abuse of minors continues to enable us today, I ask the Times to reconsider its attack mode about Pope Benedict XVI and give the world a more balanced view of a leader it can and should count on.

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