Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
In the first half of Register Radio, media observer David Pierre spoke about the findings of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops' ninth consecutive annual audit and the media's misrepresentation of the data.
Pierre pointed out that while several media sources stated that reported abuse cases were on the rise, over 90% of those were from two decades ago or further back. When the statistics are separated out, the audit reveals that reports by current minors actually decreased in 2011.
Pierre also offered other statistics not widely reported, such as the fact that more than 75% of the accused priests are deceased, have already been removed from ministry, or are missing.
Pierre also addressed the "elephant in the room," the fact that over 80% of the abuse reported was between adult males and post-pubescent males. "This needs to be addressed," said Pierre.
Asked whether he thinks the Church can expect fair reporting on the subject, Pierre said, "Journalists fall into one of two categories. There's one group that blindly sticks to the determined narrative that the Church has this problem and it continues to go on, and they don't look outside the box of this narrative. Others see it as an opportunity to go after the Church because they don't agree with what the Church teaches or what the Church is doing."
He encouraged Catholics to contact journalists when they encounter such mischaracterizations.
He also noted that no organization is doing what the Church is doing, to the extent the Church is doing it, to create safe environments for children.
"You read about abuse that continues in schools and yet you don't see people asking for school districts to have review boards and audits," said Pierre. "The Church is working more than anyone to make safe environments for children, and they're putting it all down on paper."
The Hunger Games
In the second half of the program, Steven Greydanus gave us his take on the movie "The Hunger Games," a futuristic tale where an oppressive government pits teenagers against each other in a televised struggle to the death.
Greydanus described it as a "very topical science fiction story with an absence of an explicit Christian ethic. These people aren't being martyred for their beliefs. It's a post-Christian culture of death, where the ethic of life has died completely."
He said there's certainly reason to be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for teens given the violence it depicts.
"While I appreciated the film's depiction of a corrupt executive branch over-reaching its authority, when it came to the scene where the games begin and there is a mad dash of teens for weapons and they begin hacking each other, it's very hard to watch. This is accentuated in the movie versus the book. In the book, you're participating as a character; in the movie you become the spectator."
Still, Greydanus said he appreciated the cautionary moral message about how a society goes wrong, and the depiction of Katniss as "one of the best and most engaging action-adventure, science fiction heroines we've seen in a long time." He said that as the storyline continues through the next two books he has heard that it gets darker, more hopeless, and nihilistic.
"For all of my reservations and concerns about the film, I appreciated the first book, and that it was a science fiction story that took the issues seriously."
As always, Register Radio airs today on EWTN’s affiliates at 2 p.m. EASTERN, and re-airs on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. EASTERN or Sunday at 11:00 a.m. EASTERN. You can also listen to the show after it airs on the Register Radio page or download the podcast for later listening.