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Conspiracy theory

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Apr 08, 2003

A remarkable number of my sincere Catholic friends think that the Globe won its Pulitzer by leading an anti-Catholic conspiracy in the media.

The Globe is anti-Catholic. But the facts of the sex-abuse scandal were not produced by a conspiracy-- or at least not the sort of conspiracy my friends have in mind.

Facts are facts. Their authenticity does not depend upon the motivations of those who uncover them. The Globe did a masterful job-- admittedly, with an indispensable assist from Judge Sweeney-- in laying out the facts.

But good journalism consists in something more than laying out the facts. Journalists are supposed to ask and answer the questions: who, what, where, when, and why. The Globe has answered the first 4 questions regarding the sex-abuse scandal. But why did it all happen?

Why did so many clerics betray their trust, their duty, their vocation, their faith? What did they gain by sheltering predators? What would they have lost by doing the right thing? Answer those questions, and you'll understand the crisis in the Church. But there's no Pulitzer waiting for the journalists who crack that story.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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