Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Paul Mankowski, S.J.—What Went Wrong?

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 08, 2020 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“Deviant sexual assault has accomplished what liturgical abuse never could: it has generated secular media pressure and secular legal constraints so overwhelming that the apparat was forced to make its files public.”

Last week saw the sudden passing away of Fr. Paul Mankowski, a Jesuit of the Midwest province and a former contributor to For years, he spearheaded’s old “Off the Record” column, writing under the pseudonym of Diogenes.

A brilliant priest who worked tirelessly for Catholic renewal, Fr. Mankowski was unfortunately stymied by his superiors. As Phil Lawler writes in his tribute to Fr. Mankowski: “When told that he could not write under his own name without censorship, he used pseudonyms. When told that he could not write under a pseudonym, he stopped. And so the Catholic world was denied what might have been a treasure-trove of lively and insightful prose. Do not be surprised if some memorable work now leaks out posthumously.”

Well, already we’re seeing more of Fr. Mankowski in the spotlight. Numerous tributes to him have cropped up, and a number of his essays have also been making the rounds on social media.

Among them is a piece that first appeared on, and is still available in our Library—a 2003 address to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, in which Fr. Mankowski presents an excellent analysis of how the Catholic clerical sexual abuse crisis occurred.

Fr. Mankowski’s analysis of “what went wrong” is, perhaps, more relevant now than ever.


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James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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