Father James Scahill
By Matthew Balan | April 16, 2010 10:47 PM EDTJessica Yellin continued CNN's biased coverage towards Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church, and the sex abuse scandal on Friday's Campbell Brown program. After replaying a report from Tuesday on one dissenting priest's call for the Pope's resignation, Yellin misleadingly asked, "Why is he [the Pope] having such a hard time saying he's sorry?" She also brought on two liberals to discuss the scandal.
Before the replay of correspondent Mary Snow's report on Father James Scahill's public call for Benedict XVI's resignation at 26 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour, Yellin, who was filling-in for anchor Campbell Brown, noted that "just yesterday, in a rare reference to the scandal, the Pope called for penitence for the Church's sins. But for some, penitence is not enough." After Snow's report, the substitute anchor read a promo for the upcoming segment, which included the "why is he having such a hard time saying he's sorry" claim.
That is an irresponsible question on the part of Yellin. Just under a month ago, the Pope did make such an apology in his pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland, directly addressing the victims of the abuse: "You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured....It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel." Two years ago, in April 2008, he met with some of the victims of abuse during his visit to the U.S., and addressed the scandal during a homily in New York City. Later that year, he apologized again, this time for the sex abuse in Australia while he visited that country.
By Matthew Balan | April 13, 2010 11:49 PM EDTOn Monday evening and Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and CNN all highlighted a Catholic priest's call for Pope Benedict XVI's resignation due to his alleged mishandling of the Church sex abuse scandal, labeling him "outspoken," and even going so far to compliment him as "brave" and "gutsy." All three networks, however, ignored the priest's affiliation with a liberal group and his dissension from Church teaching.
During a report on the wider abuse scandal on Monday's World News With Diane Sawyer, ABC's Dan Harris mentioned Father James Scahill's public call for the Pope to step down during a recent sermon at his parish in Massachusetts. Before playing a clip from Father Scahill, Harris stated that "anger is clearly rising within the [Catholic] Church. In his Sunday sermon this week, Father James Scahill of Massachusetts called for the Pope to resign." The ABC correspondent did not give any details on the priest's background.
Father Scahill is the pastor of St. Michael's Catholic Church in East Longmeadow. In 2004, he accepted the "Priest of Integrity Award" from Voice of the Faithful. The organization, which purports to be Catholic, achieved some visibility in the media after the 2002 revelation of the sex abuse in the Boston archdiocese. It has taken heterodox positions on Church issues, such as calling for an end to priestly celibacy, and endorsed liberal dissenting theologians such as Rev. Charles Curran. CNN featured Dan Bartley, the president of VOTF, during a March 26, 2010 segment which also featured two other liberal Christians who advocated radical changes inside the Catholic Church.