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oh, NOW I get it!

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 12, 2010

The Vatican has for the first time made it clear that bishops and other high-ranking clergy should report clerical sex abuse to police.

That's the lede in an AP account of the Vatican's public summary of Church guidelines for handling sex-abuse complaints. The message, as delivered by AP, is clear: the Vatican has finally instructed Church leaders to inform civil authorities about abuse complaints.

But wait. The next sentence sends quite a different message:

The Vatican has insisted that this has long been the Catholic Church's policy.

And the guidelines that were made public today have been in place since 2001. So this isn't a new policy at all; the story is several years old.

The Vatican made these guidelines public for the benefit of the public. The people with a "need to know"-- the bishops and other Church leaders who were expected to implement the policies—were already acquainted with them.

So an accurate lede for the AP story would run like this:

The Vatican has for the first time made it clear even to AP reporters that bishops and other high-ranking clergy should report clerical sex abuse to police.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Apr. 12, 2010 7:41 PM ET USA

    Ah, ah, ah, Arbp. Weisgerber; ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Apr. 12, 2010 4:41 PM ET USA

    "The problem is when there is a big difficulty, the people in the Church don't know how to deal with it," says Archbishop Weisgerber. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/life/faith/code-of-conduct-for-priests-developed-by-archdiocese-90460109.html?viewAllComments=y

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 12, 2010 4:17 PM ET USA

    Don't bet on it. The AP will never believe it---even if, like Thomas, they put their hands in the wounds. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." - Anon. Or, perhaps, "There are none so blind as those who will not see." - Harwood (?)

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