A LEADING Catholic civil rights organisation has hit out at the media coverage of the Pennsylvania grand jury's report detailing hundreds of alleged cases of Catholic Church leaders sexually abusing children.
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, released a statement criticising the "moral panic" surrounding the Church.
He also urged the public to focus on the positive work of the Church rather than these historic abuse cases.
The media, by focusing exclusively on abuse of minors in Catholic institutions - and stubbornly refusing to credit the Church for reforms that have made Catholic settings today among the safest places for children - perpetuate an irrational fear that the Catholic Church poses a unique threat to the safety of children.
He also hit out at politicians for fuelling this "irrational fear" with their investigations and grand jury probes into the Church.
The Catholic League President also criticised the coverage and investigations for "ignoring widespread abuse in other faith communities" as well as in youth sports and public schools.
"This is a textbook case of moral panic-one that even too many Catholics are allowing themselves to get caught up in," he added.
Founded in 1973, the Catholic League was set up to defend the rights of Catholics, both followers of the faith and clergy alike, against defamation and discrimination.
Donohue's comments come after a grand jury report alleged at least 301 Catholic priests of sexually abusing children while serving in active ministry.
Investigators received "detailed accounts" from more than 1,000 victims, with the grand jury concluding the actual number of victims is likely far higher.