Thursday, March 10, 2011

Marci Hamilton's Advice to Philadelphia "Independent" Investigator Gina Maisto Smith: Eyes Wide Open

For those who imagine we have complete data on the abuse situation in the American Catholic church, that all the data are on the table, that the John Jay study had access to all the information available to the bishops and Rome, and that we can make sweeping generalizations about the situation on the basis of the very partial information released by bishops up to now as they kick and scream to keep their files sealed, I highly recommend Marci Hamilton's article yesterday at the Patheos website.  

Hamilton's list of pointers for Gina Maisto Smith, the "independent" invesigator hired by the archdiocese of Philadelphia to review its files and sort out the Philadelphia mess (but I had thought that was the job of the diocesan ordinaries and their review board!?), is worth the entire read.  

I hope Smith listens.  Marci Hamilton knows what she's talking about when she says that Catholic dioceses keep layers on layers of files, some of them secret and persistently withheld from any investigator, that the bishops withheld secret files from the John Jay investigators, that files have been sent to Rome which may or may not be trackable, and that apologists for the pedophile system are now trying to engage in scorched-earth tactics with the term "credible" as they seek to give it a new definition not found in any dictionary.

And above and beyond this, there's also increasing evidence of destruction of  damning diocesan files in a number of places (see here and here, e.g.).  I don't envy Smith's assignment.  She'll have to exhibit the cunningness of a serpent to get at information that has always been known to those who kept credibly accused priests in ministry in Philadelphia, who did not do their jobs, and who have created the mess that resulted when it took a grand jury investigation to make Philadelphia church officials even pretend to try to adhere to the terms of the USCCB 2002 Dallas charter.

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