Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church is essential reading for anyone who wants to hear the other side of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The side the media hasn’t told you, and side most of the public doesn’t know.
In 18 succinct chapters, he argues that the media’s reporting of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal was extraordinarily biased, that the Church has become an exemplary institution when it comes to protecting the innocence of children, that attorneys unscrupulously capitalized on the media frenzy for financial gain, and that the continued myth that the Catholic Church in the U.S. harbors and abets child abusers not only is an unfair slander to good priests and the pope (and by extension, a slander to all Catholics), but the belief that only priests abuse continues to paper-over the widespread and ongoing national exploitation of children.
All of that may be a lot to take in, and luckily Pierre has peppered his chapters with footnotes and citations of his claims. Even for someone who has read about this subject for years, it was eye-opening to me.
In all fairness, at times I think Pierre is a bit over-zealous in his defense of the Church, and at times transitions from impartial reporter to advocate for the Church, but one can hardly blame him considering the enormous amount of evidence on his side compared with the unfair allegations which continue to be made about the Church (and, as recently as earlier this year, the pope).
Yes, abuse happened, yes more could and should have been done to address these abuses, yes the Church must continue to make amends, but as things stand now, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is simply one of the safest places for children anywhere, and those that continue to attack innocent priests, the pope, and all Catholics for the failings of the past have a separate agenda in mind than the protection of children.
Double Standard has a final use. If someone attacks you or slanders the Church over the sexual abuse scandal, challenge them to read this book and continue saying such things. Most generalities that people utter about the abuse scandal have little to no basis in reality, and if people cannot prove the outrageous claims they make about the Church, and if they are honest people, they will cease repeating them. It is up to faithful Catholics who love the Church and do not wish to see her witness dimmed by falsehood to call her attackers out.