Media Exaggerated U.S. Scandals, Says Cardinal Sodano

Also Asks for Balance in Reporting on Pope’s Health

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2003 ( The Vatican’s secretary of state says the media’s reporting of the U.S. scandals attributed to some priests was exaggerated.

«The scandals in the United States received disproportionate attention from the media,» Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano told Reuters in an interview Friday. «There are thieves in every country, but it’s hard to say that everyone is a thief.»

The cardinal noted that there are more than 48,000 priests in the United States. «The vast majority are generous pastors,» he said. «Why should there be so much aggressiveness toward them, and so many unjust generalizations?»

«I am sorry to see these wonderful missionaries who have dedicated their lives [to Christ], seeing themselves derided after 50 years of work,» he lamented.

«It is fair to condemn evil, but one must keep it in proportion,» the cardinal continued. Asked if there might have been a plot to discredit the Church, he said: «We don’t have evidence of this but I know that many people have thought this. We give the facts.»

Referring to John Paul II’s health, Cardinal Sodano said that although the Pope is obviously weaker, he continues to hold the reins of the Church.

«I’m not pretending that the Pope is fine, no,» he said. «It is obvious that time passes for everyone. It is a law of life that someone who is 83 does not have the strength that he had when he was 33. But let’s not engage in science fiction.»

Commenting on Iraq, the cardinal added that the Church «hopes that men of goodwill will help [Iraq] so that it soon gets back its freedom and its sovereignty.»

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