You Can Tell by the Vestments

The New York Times carries a story about the abuse scandal in Belgium.  For the first time, this article appears to be rather legitimate. There is almost no attempt to hide the facts of the real scandal by focusing on the consevative Pope that the Times hates so much.

But here is what they are not telling you: The Bishop in question is one of the church’s liberal darlings. His archbishop, Danneels,  is one of the primary liberals in the European church. At the last conclave, liberals wanted him to become Pope. Now he is being questioned about child abuse under his watch.

You can often tell a liberal bishop on sight, by the vestments he wears. The wild vestments are usually worn by liberals. See the picture that accompanies the Times story.

But of course, there is this:

It is not known whether Cardinal Danneels or others notified the Vatican, itself mired in allegations of inaction on sexual abuse, about the case at the time.

In this case, it’s a misleading question. The local bishops are the people who are primarily responsible for dealing with abusive priests, not the Vatican. The Vatican is usually thousands of miles away and has few resources to investigate. Everyone understands that these fact-heavy investigations must be done in the first instance by the bishop. He has full power to deal with the matter. He is the only one who can immediately remove the priest. He can basically stirip the priest of any ability to come in contact with children, or to act as a priest.

So all of these stories that pretend the bishops had to wait for the Vatican to do something are pure hogwash. The Vatican is involved – only on rare occasions – when the final step is taken, a step that is more a formality than anything else – the complete and utter removal of the abuser from the priesthood. Long before that, the local bishop should have removed the priest from all office; from all contact; from any representation in a priestly capacity whatsoever.

Basically, the local bishop is supposed to immediately empty all the gas out of the car, disconnect the spark plugs, remove the wheels, and disconnect the drive train. Then, later, the Vatican comes along and hauls the now useless car to the junkyard.

But the Times has been pretending that everyone had to wait for the Vatican, and nothing could be done in the meantime. This is deeply dishonest.

The dioceses where the most abuse has happened are often run by liberal bishops, the very ones the Times supports. And so, they try to obscure the fact that most of the child abuse takes place in those dioceses, and instead starts a big commotion by attacking the Pope. Meanwhile, the real guilty parties slip away, unnoticed.

Today’s article is at least focusing somewhat on the real perps. Now, if the Times would come clean and let the public know that most of the cases of abuse arise either under very liberal bishops, or in dioceses where liberal priests dominate, they could help stop the abuse. But you have to question whether that is their goal at all. They seem to be much more interested in bashing the Pope than in getting at the truth.

There are certain truths that the Times does not want to know.

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