Action Alert!

PhotoShop your troubles away

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 12, 2014

Critics of the Vatican (and concerned friends, for that matter) have reason to keep a close eye on the Dominican Republic in the coming weeks, as I explained yesterday. So it was alarming, at first, to hear that the bishops of that country altered a group photo, to make the former papal nuncio, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, disappear from the picture.

That’s right. The Dominican bishops released a photo from which Archbishop Wesolowski was missing, although he was there when the picture was originally taken. Was this a lame attempt to erase the archbishop from public memory, since he has been accused of sexual abuse?

Not so, according to the bishops’ conference of the Dominican Republic. The real explanation is more innocent—but to tell the truth, not much more reassuring.

Yes, it’s true that the image of Archbishop Wesolowski was cut out of the photo, and replaced with a picture of Bishop Francisco José Arnaiz, who had missed the original photo session because of illness. Grossly manipulative? Yes. But the bishops’ explanation is that…

They do it all the time! The actual photo is 5 years old, a spokesman told Dominican Today, and has been “updated” several times in the past. In other words, when one bishop dies or resigns or (in this case) is called back to Rome for investigation, his photo is cropped out, and his replacement’s photo is eventually pasted in. And the bishops aren’t embarrassed at all about using PhotoShop wizardry. “That will continue to be done until we can take a new picture with the presence of all the bishops.”

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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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Feb. 13, 2014 8:24 AM ET USA

    A page right out of the old Politburo's playbook! "Comrade Outsky is no longer in good standing with our Glorious Leader, the Light of the People! Airbrush him out, IMMEDIATELY!!" Not content with having trashed the Church by coddling deviants all over the globe for decades, the bishops are now attempting to bury it in derision! (Is my outrage coming through?)