gone but not forgotten

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 03, 2008

The OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano is no friend of the Catholic Church, but in this instance it's hard to dismiss as bigotry the mortar shell he lobs into the lap of the local bishop. It concerns a newly published history of the California diocese now headed by Bishop Tod Brown, titled, Diocese of Orange: Learning, Loving, Living Our Faith.

In the published history, according to Arellano, the photo below appears in illustration of some event in the life of Junipero Serra High School in San Juan Capistrano.

The original of the printed photo -- according to Arellano -- is shown below (both images come from Arellano's blog posting):

If the photos are what Arellano claims they are, it's obvious that the clergyman pictured second from right in the original photo has been expunged from the version published in the diocesan history. According to Arellano, yet again, the vanished priest is the former Father John Lenihan, Arellano's one-time pastor, and a cleric who was dismissed in 2001 for sexual predation. Lenihan admitted to sexual relations with girls as young as thirteen. Arellano proposes, and it's hard to gainsay his suggestion, that Lenihan's presence pointed to the diocese's embarrassing tardiness in ridding itself of a predator (complaints dated back to 1978), and consequently, through the miracle of Photoshop, Lenihan was erased from the diocese's guilty conscience -- or at least from its happy-talk history.

Arellano calls the Orange Diocese's manipulation of the photo Stalinism, and it's easy to see his point: Stalin was notorious for altering the photographic record of history to suit his ideological purposes of the moment. But then Stalin's falsifications were consistent with the pragmatism of his revolutionary ethos; he didn't acknowledge the necessity of making a full, honest, and integral confession of wrongdoing as a condition of forgiveness. A Catholic, on the other hand, should.

Vividly mindful of the Covenant with the Faithful the bishop nailed onto his cathedral door in 2004, we await the Diocese's forthcoming explanation of the invisible Lenihan with heightened interest and a keen sense of anticipation.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 07, 2008 11:01 AM ET USA

    The book by David King is "The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia". As Diogenes suggests, by imitating the means of Stalin, it is only reasonable only conclude that the bishop shares the same ends as Stalin, namely the falsification of history to present whatever is today's version of "truth". It is propaganda by omission. As we now say, the coverup is worse than the crime.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 04, 2008 12:26 PM ET USA

    Euripides, If you have the stomach, please read Father Robert Taft's recent bouquet to the "overwhelmingly successful" liturgical reform, in America magazine. Yes, there are people who still take this stuff seriously. I guess there are some psychedlic drugs that just never wear off.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 11:40 PM ET USA

    Warning to good guys, bad guys, and everyone in between: Don't try Photo Shopping pictures. In today's internet age, it willl be exposed in a heartbeat.

  • Posted by: Art Kelly - Jun. 03, 2008 11:40 PM ET USA

    Warning to good guys, bad guys, and everyone in between: Don't try Photo Shopping pictures. In today's internet age, it willl be exposed in a heartbeat.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 7:40 PM ET USA

    The "Rapture" perhaps? Where's Tim LaHaye when you need him?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 4:57 PM ET USA

    Woebetide you sceptics who fail to recognize a holy miracle when you see one. Assumption or assumption? You decide.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 2:33 PM ET USA

    Is there anyone left in North America with a triple-digit I.Q. who takes ANY of this seriously any more? Please. I read these pieces as a break from the pressures of my business day. Keep them coming. The Traditionalists are both the Past and the Future of the Church. No one takes the Present seriously.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 11:08 AM ET USA

    It obviously isn't the same picture. Perhaps they were shot in sequence, and Lenihan knelt down to tie his shoe or something. Yeah, that's the ticket, he was tying his shoe.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 11:00 AM ET USA

    Bsp Brown’s photoshopping has the stalinist touch, but it is small fare compared to the manipulation of the data in the John Jay report, which, in reporting only regional averages, makes Orange and LA dioceses look much less worse than they are. Pooling all of the dioceses together conceals the bad guys, like Brown, and tars the good guys like Bruskewitz.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2008 10:58 AM ET USA

    They're all smiling.