Friday, August 16, 2002

I Predict...

Well, two days have come and gone since Catholic World News broke the story that the Vatican will almost certainly send the Bishops' Dallas Zero Tolerance norms back with the charge: "do it again, and please get it right this time." In particular, Vatican sources told CW News that the policy would be rejected because of deficiencies such as:

-The absence of safeguards to protect the reputation of priests who might be unjustly
-The failure to guarantee that bishops would apply the norms fairly, or that bishops
themselves would be subject to the proposed discipline.

These are issues which I and others have blogged before.

Most interesting is the Vatican's concern with the Dallas policy's "failure to address root causes of sexual abuse." Does anyone else read that as a veiled reference to the problem of homosexuals in the priesthood? It sure seems that way to me. What other "root cause" is there for pederasty? Could it be that the largely inarticulate recent rumblings of Rome on this subject will be followed up by a demand that our bishops get their house in order and act with regard to disobedient homosexual priests like the St. Sebastian's Angels? Dare I hope for so much?

Now, aside from a story in today's Boston Herald and a couple of blurbs about this by Rod Dreher at The Corner, no one in the secular media has picked up on this. I know, because I've been watching, expecting at any moment an eruption of indignation at the Bad Old Vatican from the media establishment. But in the New York Times, nothing. The Chicago Tribune, nothing. From the TV networks, nothing. From "designated catholics" in the media such as Sean Hannity, nothing.

I confess to being puzzled at this. You'd think they'd be all over the story, if for no other reason than to re-open the wound of The Situation and pour a little salt in it. So what is the reason for the media's silence?

I can think of one explanation: A confluence of the slothfulness and bias of most of the people in the "mainstream" media. Bias, because the source of the story is Catholic World News, a "conservative" Catholic publication known for loyalty to the Magisterium. For this reason it is beneath the notice of most of the media. Slothfulness, because, for all the splash that media outlets make about "investigative" journalism, there's actually precious little of that being done. Most reporters rely on being spoon-fed information from their sources, who, for the most part, share their outlook and prejudices.

So, my prediction: When the official Vatican announcement is made that the Dallas policy is fatally flawed and needs to be redone, the media outlets will trumpet the story as shocking, surprising news that no-one (meaning none of their coterie) anticipated. That informed Catholics have suspected this outcome and predicted it all along will go unreported. Also largely unreported will be the substance of the Vatican's concerns. It will be played as another "power struggle" between Rome and the US bishops, who tried so hard, after all, to do the right thing with those nasty pedophiles in Dallas.