Linking abuse with ordination a cheap ploy

  • July 22, 2010

Without doubt the story that snagged everyone's attention this week, and not always positively, came out the Vatican. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith outlied new procedures dealing with major crimes. News organizations as different as The New York Times , The Muslim News and The Catholic Register rightly felt compelled to cover the story. Unfortunately, few in the mainstream media seemed able to resist the cheap urge to link the new rules on the ordination of women and new procedures for dealing with the sexual abuse of children. And even fewer could resist using the conjunction as an excuse for ridicule or indignation. The indignation rings a bit hollow given that The New York Times ran their editorial condemming the new procedures as inadequate almost a week before the new procedures were published.

One of the clearest explanations of the announcement and the history behind it is found in a column by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, whose explanation of the reasoning for the 'conjunction' of the two 'crimes' actually makes logical sense if not public relations brilliance. It's this lack of deft touch when it comes to public communication that most concerns R.R. Reno, senior editor at First Things. Reno steps back in a provocative editorial and asks if the entire scandal has still worrisome surprises and twists to come.

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