Tuesday, March 16, 2010

“The drowning man ...

... will grab even the point of a sword.”

In the early years of what is variously known as the "clerical sex abuse scandal," bishops went to great lengths to protect priests who engaged in pederasty, shuffling them from one assignment to another, or offering big payoffs to the families in return for their silence. In the last decade, however, we have seen a change. Bishops will now throw their priests to the wolves in order to protect themselves, even if the allegations prove false. A recent piece written by Mary Ann Kreitzer illustrates the double standard.

A priest is accused and is immediately suspended, everyone in the known world is notified of the allegation, and the priest is hung out to dry. He is presumed guilty and must prove his innocence, paying for his defense himself. On the other hand, a bishop is accused, keeps the accusation secret, pays out tens of thousands in hush money to his accuser from diocesan funds, not to mention countless bucks to lawyers and public relations folks, and continues on the job.

It will not remain this way for long. This strategy is not only untruthful, but it has a limited shelf life. Sooner or later, they will run out of whipping boys. I predict that in the coming decade, bishops will no longer limit themselves to turning on their priests, but will begin to turn on one another.

The path of self-destruction will most likely begin in California.

“For all the gold that is beneath the moon,
Or ever has been, of these weary souls
Could never make a single one repose.”

-- Dante's
Inferno, Plate XXII, Canto VII

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