Action Alert!

accentuate the positive!

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 18, 2003

The Erie Times-News is perplexed by Bishop Donald Trautman's take on the National Review Board:

Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman had sharp words for an independent lay review board that is examining the scope of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal nationwide. Trautman on Tuesday said he wishes the panel, which the bishops created, had a different task.

He bluntly told the review board in Washington, D.C., that the board would be better off to focus on writing about the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests whose only wish is to serve and do good, according to Trautman's remarks as reported by the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

ALL of us wish the lay review board had a different task, in the sense that everyone wishes there were no problem of sexually predatory clergy and no problem of episcopal cover-up and consequenty no nasty business for the commission to report on. But what can Trautman possibly mean in suggesting that the board would be "better off" in focusing on the majority of priests who -- we all agree here -- do not commit felonious sexual assaults on minors? It's an entirely honorable endeavor to make known the good behavior of faithful priests, but is it the task of the outsiders you bring in for the fix?

By Trautman's reasoning, the SEC would be better off concentrating on the vast majority of honest traders, the FDA on the vast majority of wholesome vegetables, the FBI on the vast majority of dutiful citizens. NBA referees should leave their whistles at home (most plays don't involve traveling violations).

Suppose the National Review Board accepted Trautman's admonishment and gifted us next February with an up-beat, positive, smiles-all-around report: Profiles in Chastity: Six Bishops Who Have Not Throttled Male Prostitutes in Hotel Rooms. Constructive? Yes. Edifying? Undoubtedly. But will it contribute to solving the problem?

Ask Frank Keating.

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