Woodward & the ‘Times’; atheists; charters


Kenneth L. Woodward’s wide-ranging “Church of the ‘Times’: A Dissent” (May 7) strongly implies, without saying it explicitly, that New York Times reporting on the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandals has been misleading or inaccurate. I leave it to others to analyze his rambling essay about the culture of the Times, its controlling family, and how it compares to Newsweek, Time, etc. As a regular and fairly critical reader of the Times (and Commonweal) over many decades, I have found its reporting of the crisis thorough, mostly fair, and responsible. There may be unreported relevant facts, but Woodward cites none.

His argument seems threefold: First, Woodward writes that the Times has a predominantly liberal point of view. Big news. Of course the Times is, and ought to be, a secular paper. Regardless of the paper’s overall attitude toward religion, the issue here is its coverage of child sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests and the widespread cover-up over many decades in this worldwide and hard-to-fathom organization, the Roman Catholic Church.

Every significant development in this story, since it broke in 2002, has come from secular sources—the press, government investigations, judicial subpoenas, revelations by victims—in this country and now...

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