Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mark Silk on John Jay Report: Bishops Set the Terms and Got What They Wanted

The chilling (and correct) conclusion of Mark Silk's assessment of the recent John Jay report blaming Woodstock*--not the bishops themselves or the Vatican--for the Catholic abuse crisis and its cover-up: 

It was the bishops, however, who commissioned the report, who set its terms, and who controlled and continue to control access to the files. It was the bishops who were the clients and, in the end, they got the report they paid for.

This report is all about trying to wrest back control of the media conversation about the abuse crisis, and to plant new, misleading talking points in the media memes about the crisis.  Since the bash-the-gays diversionary tactic failed to work, they're now switching to what Terence McKiernan of Bishop Accountability calls the Woodstock defense.  As Mark Silk notes, this defense is designed to deflect attention from "the real abuse crisis: the failure of bishop after bishop to deal properly with their abusing priests once American society at large had begun to take the problem seriously."

And if we American Catholics let this shoddy tactic fly, and permit Bill Donohue and other drivers of the mean machine to have their way with the media as they once again seek to direct our gaze away from the bishops' pastoral malfeasance, then shame on us for our continued stupidity, passivity, and moral obtuseness.  Why anyone keeps on supporting and giving to a machine that is out of control now with its misogynistic and homophobic meannness is beyond my ken.

Catholics deserve far better from their leaders.  And they won't get it until they demand it--by withdrawing support and contributions and by pushing back against the lies through public demands for accountability and transparency.

*H/t to Mark Silk at NCR.

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