MARGARET WARNER: We’ve had people say to us that this is the worst crisis the church has faced in a couple hundred years. Do you see it that way?
CARDINAL LEVADA: It’s a big crisis. I think no one should try to diminish that. I think the crisis is particularly grave because priests are ordained to be good shepherds. We had Good Shepherd Sunday this last Sunday, and this is anything but being a good shepherd when you abuse children and you violate their innocence and their persons and they are too young to be able to respond on their own. So this is a crisis if you will that I think caught most of us by surprise. One bishop told me “this isn’t the cruise I signed up for,” but that’s in fact what has happened. I think the pope, that was not his training and background, but I think he is the right man to be guiding the church at this time.
MARGARET WARNER: Now many people we’ve spoken to certainly in the States, in the church, are surprised that you all here seem surprised by this new wave. That after all the American church went through this eight years ago, painfully, had gone to a new way of operating, after many revelations. Why was the Vatican not more prepared? Why is this a surprise?
CARDINAL LEVADA: Well I think that there are two things involved in the current media attention. I think one is the situation in Ireland, where the report on the Archdiocese of Dublin triggered a lot of attention, not only in Ireland, but in Europe and then I think throughout the world. And the second, frankly I think, is if I will say a certain media bias. I shouldn’t, I don’t want to scapegoat anybody or have a conspiracy theory, but I do think that the American media in particular has the question has been driven by information given by the plaintiffs’ attorneys who are looking for ways to involve the pope somehow in a court process or something like that, which are I think bound to be futile but nevertheless I think that has driven a fair amount of the media coverage if I may say so.
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