Friday, March 26, 2010

Vienna Boys Choir caught up in sex abuse scandal

This is becoming the stuff of sick parody. Notice the headline: Vienna Boys Choir caught up in sex abuse scandal. Then read the article. There is precious little on the Vienna Boys Choir but a great deal on the Catholic Church. The photos in the Times-Online article are Church related but the Vienna Boys Choir is not Church-related.

This is a common problem of reporting on this issue. Even when dealing with an instance of abuse that doesn't deal with the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church forms the frame for the picture. As I said back in 2003:
"For instance, CBS reported on March 19, 2002. 'The FBI says it expects to arrest at least 50 more people by week’s end as it busts up an Internet child-pornography ring that allegedly included two Catholic priests, six other member of the clergy, a school bus driver and at least one police officer.' I am not interested in bringing discredit upon Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans or Episcopalians but why was it that among the eight clergy only Catholic priests were referenced? It was because the media is treating this as an institutional rather than an individual problem."  Catholic references a specific institution in the way police officer or school bus driver does. There are many different police jurisdictions; many different public school districts but there is only one Catholic Church.  "Catholic priest" works on the imagination differently than police or bus driver.

David Quinn, columnist at the Irish Independent, also notes: "A great deal of the coverage attaching to the issue of child abuse by Catholic clergy is undoubtedly motivated by animus towards the Catholic Church itself because abuse by other organisations rarely receives such coverage.

"This animus is motivated by rules and beliefs many outsiders find incomprehensible and grotesque, for example, the celibacy rule.

"But unless evidence can be found to prove that there is something about Catholicism itself which produces abuse on a scale found in no other institution that cares for children, then we will have to assume this animus is, in fact, a prejudice and treat it as such."

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