Friday, February 12, 2016

The sort of thing that gives the Church a bad reputation

I'm sure there's a reason for this.  I'm sure it's one of those things that makes sense in back room, inside baseball sort of meetings.  But to the casual headline reader strolling by on the way to work or the movies, it stinks to high heaven. 

I can't help but notice, however, that there has been an uptick in clergy abuse stories in the last month or so.  For a while, it was as if there never had been a clergy abuse scandal.  Last year, when Pope Francis came to the US, except for mentioning his outreach and attempts to bring healing, there was nothing discussed.  When Pope Benedict did the same, I was treated to days and weeks of stories about the entire scandalous episode. 

I don't know why.  Perhaps there wasn't any new juicy scandal news for the media to report.  Or perhaps, since Pope Francis appears to be standing firm on the Church's actual teaching regarding homosexuality and abortion, no matter how merciful he is trying to be, the media has realized what Catholics all knew: Pope Francis might be able to reimagine how we apply and live out Church teaching, but he can't change it.  He won't change it.

The charitable in me wants to believe it's just cosmic coincidence, or a slow news cycle with nothing other than presidential politics, Russian aggression, threats from ISIS, nuclear North Korea, the Zika endemic, and the Immigration crisis to talk about.  But a little voice in me can't help but wonder if the press is letting a few more stories run now since it might be that Pope Francis isn't going to play its game by its rules.

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