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In his weekly column yesterday, New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt defended the newspaper’s coverage of the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal. The NYT has received hundreds of letters complaining about its investigation, mainly from lay Catholics who agree with high-ranking church officials that the coverage unfairly and erroneously links Pope Benedict’s current and former office (as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) with the abuse cover-ups in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

The Wisconsin story — the Rev. Lawrence Murphy allegedly abused several hundred boys at a deaf school there between 1950 and 1974– propelled the latest round of reporting on the American scandal last month; one of Murphy’s victims is now suing the Holy See, a move that Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena said smacks of a publicity stunt, given that the Holy See has sovereign immunity and officials there say they did not know about the abuse until decades later, shortly before Murphy’s death.

Check back for updates — including my interview with Lena — and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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