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Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Catholic paper to devote issue to clergy abuse

The Pilot to address a number of topics

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 3/9/2002

The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, is planning to increase its press run and publish a special edition next week devoted to the subject of clergy sexual abuse.

The paper, which was founded in 1829 and is America's oldest Catholic newspaper, has been increasingly focused on clergy sexual abuse in recent weeks, and yesterday's edition includes 10 stories on the subject.

The weekly paper is published by the church; its publisher is Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

''The Pilot is the official newspaper of the archdiocese that speaks to the faithful, and they certainly can provide coverage with a sensitivity and perspective on the issue as few can,'' said Law's spokeswoman, Donna M. Morrissey. ''The special edition could offer new dimensions to the coverage, including a focus on the reforms underway in the archdiocese to protect children. People in the pews respect this publication, and the special edition comes at a good time.''

In an editorial yesterday, The Pilot's editors said they decided to publish the special edition to address ''speculation'' about clergy sexual abuse in other media. They said the edition ''will attempt to be a candid explanation of how the archdiocese arrived at this painful hour and how we, as the church, must address this scandal.''

''Since January, when the Spotlight Team of the Boston Globe began publishing its long-awaited series about sexual misconduct by priests, every form of media has followed suit in such an overwhelming wave of data and speculations that the laity and clergy of the archdiocese are reeling,'' the editorial said. ''Because there is a mixture of correct and incorrect data as well as both fair and imaginary speculation in some of these stories of shameful scandal, next week's issue of The Pilot will be specifically dedicated to this topic.''

Among the articles the paper is promising are stories addressing funding for settlement of lawsuits, assistance to victims, and a history of the archdiocese's policies on the issue.

Although the archdiocese says that there are more than 2 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston, the editorial says that 100,000 copies of The Pilot should be enough to reach every family likely to attend Mass over the weekend. The normal press run of the paper is 25,000.

This story ran on page A10 of the Boston Globe on 3/9/2002.
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