An editorial cartoon that appeared Wednesday about the Pope and Catholic priests crossed the line from fair criticism to indecent attack.

We regret the decision to include that cartoon and apologize for subjecting our readers to it. Several readers have contacted us expressing their dismay or anger at our decision to publish the cartoon and asked for an apology, and they are right. 

That cartoon should not have been published and we need to say so. It was in poor judgement on our part. We’d also like to thank those who have rightly spoken out against it.

The cartoon was apparently an attempt to criticize church leaders over the ongoing sex-abuse scandal, but it came off as a mean-spirited smear against an entire group.

It was especially wrong considering this country’s history of anti-Catholicism and persecution of other religious groups.

We won’t shy away from opinion pieces or cartoons critical of the Catholic Church or leaders of other faith groups. In fact we have run at least one previous cartoon about the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.

And we realize that what crosses the bounds of decency is subject to disagreement. But we believe this cartoon did cross that line and should not have appeared in this newspaper.

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