Ben Shapiro: Why In The Name Of God Is The Media Protecting Pope Francis? | Opinion

In 2003, The Boston Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on a massive sex abuse cover-up inside the Roman Catholic Church, led by the archdiocese of Boston. The Pulitzer board praised the newspaper’s “courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church.” Hollywood made the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight about the effort.

In 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Vatican ambassador to the United States, released an 11-page memo alleging that Pope Francis and other top members of the Vatican had reinstated Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to a public position despite credible allegations of sexual abuse of seminarians and minors. The memo rocked the Catholic Church; Pope Francis refused to comment; other sources came forward to back Vigano’s claims.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago made the near-unbelievable claim that Pope Francis shouldn’t comment, since he has “a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”

So, did the press leap to investigate Vigano’s claims? Did they demand answers from Pope Francis? Did we see the same type of courageous, comprehensive coverage of Francis’ activities that we saw from the Globe team circa 2003? Of course not.

Instead, mainstream media outlets went out of their way to portray Vigano as a disgruntled conservative angry at Pope Francis’ progressive interpretation of Catholic doctrine. The New York Times headlined, “Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce.” Their print headline was even worse: “Francis Takes High Road As Conservatives Pounce, Taking Criticisms Public.”

Yes, according to the Times, the story wasn’t the sitting Pope being credibly accused of a sexual abuse cover-up—it was conservatives attacking him for it. The problem of child molestation and sexual abuse of clergy took a back seat to Francis’ leftist politics, as the Times piece made clear in its first paragraph: “Since the start of his papacy, Francis has infuriated Catholic traditionalists as he tries to nurture a more welcoming church and shift it away from culture war issues, whether abortion or homosexuality. ‘Who am I to judge?’ the pope famously said, when asked about gay priests. Just how angry his political and doctrinal enemies are became clear this weekend…”

It wasn’t just the Times. On Wednesday, Reuters headlined, “Defenders rally around pope, fear conservatives escalating war.” On Thursday, Reuters doubled down with this headline: “Conservative media move to front line of battle to undermine Pope Francis.” The Telegraph (U.K.) reported, “Vatican analysts say the attack appears to be part of a concerted effort by conservatives to oust Pope Francis, who they dislike for his relatively liberal views…”

GettyImages-940265754 Pope Francis attends the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on March 30, 2018 in Rome, Italy. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

But why in the name of God is calling on the Vatican not to defend sexual abusers a political issue for the press? Why isn’t this something we can all agree upon? Why aren’t the press asking the pope tough questions, instead of focusing on the supposed motivations of the whistleblowers?

The media’s disgraceful attempts to cover for Francis because of their love for his politics merely exposes the actual malign motivations of many in the media: they were happy to expose misconduct and evil inside the Catholic Church when the pope was a conservative; they’re happy to facilitate a cover-up when the pope is a liberal.

That’s vile. And most Catholics understand that if the members of the media—an overwhelmingly secular group of people—are steadfastly defending a papacy accused of sexual abuse cover-ups, it’s not out of goodwill for the Church generally. It’s out of a belief that traditionalist doctrine must be rooted out at any cost, even including the abuse of minors and the violation of basic canon law.

The media’s coverage of the burgeoning potential cover-up scandal by Pope Francis and his associates doesn’t call conservative Catholics into question. It calls into question members of the media themselves, who seem eager to uncover wrongdoing only when it serves their political interests, and eager to subordinate the interests of the innocent to their political agenda when they must.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, available on iTunes and syndicated across America.​

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​

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