Three short items today…
The Kansas City Star and writer Judy Thomas, in particular, wrung their hands today about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ failure to significantly change their head-in-sand policies on child sex abuse.
Meeting in Bellevue, Wash., Thursday, the American bishops voted 187-5 to essentially stick with the policy that they adopted in 2002.
“We are dismayed that the new policy is almost identical to the current policy, despite horrifying recent evidence in Kansas City and Philadelphia that the church’s current policies are dangerously lenient and full of loopholes,” Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, was quoted as saying.
It was the lead story in the paper and ran under a one-inch headline that said “Bishops Resist Changes.”
All who are surprised please raise your hands.
Anyone who has any idea of how the Catholic Church operates — and that’s the vast majority of people — knows that the church’s turnaround time on major issues is usually a century or two, not a month or so.
The bishops’ assembly was probably set two years ago, and their position on the sex abuse policy was probably determined months ago.
The Philadelphia scandal — where Bishop Justin Rigali allowed 37 accused priests to continue working around children in Catholic parishes — took place earlier this year.
I predict it’s going to take decades for the church to come around to the idea that the correct action in priest-accusation cases is to call the police immediately — not mull it over, meet with and warn the priests and try to persuade them to get on the right path.
The Star’s headline and story smacked of hyperventilation.
Maybe it was just a vehicle to run a big photo of the Rev. Shawn F. Ratigan, the local priest who got his kicks by taking “up-skirt” photos of elementary-school girls.
Ratigan, who is in jail, was photographed in Clay County Circuit Court, where he made a brief appearance Thursday. Nothing happened in his case Thursday; the fact that he appeared was, correctly, worth only a paragraph in today’s story.
The story probably deserved front-page play, but certainly not top of the page with a four-column photo.
Here’s a funny correction from Wednesday’s New York Times…
“An article on Friday about the death of Leona Helmsley’s dog, Trouble, misstated the reason that Trouble’s inheritance from Ms. Helmsley’s estate was reduced to $2 million from $12 million, the amount specified in the will. A judge determined that the greater amount exceeded that necessary to care for the dog, not that Ms. Helmsley was of unsound mind when she made the will.”
I guess the issue of the late Ms. Helmsley’s state of mind is still up in the air, eh?
Then, the Thursday Times carried an item that is one of the most dreaded events in newsrooms: the correction to a correction.
“A correction in this space on Tuesday misstated the size of the (Irish Fianna Fail) party’s Dublin delegation…there were 18 members, not 47.”