In a time of crisis, unfortunate tag lines

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 28, 2018

1) Introducing an interview with Cardinal Blase Cupich, a Chicago TV anchor referred to the “explosive allegations” in the testimony of Archbishop Vigano. But the cardinal himself told the interviewer that the Pope was “not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.” He explained: “The Pope has a bigger agenda.” And what could be bigger than ensuring that predator-prelates are not setting Church policy? Bigger than stopping sexual abuse? Bigger than demonstrating that the Catholic hierarchy is trustworthy? Bigger than showing that the Vatican is not sheltering a criminal enterprise? The cardinal’s first example: “talking about the environment...”

2) Yesterday’s statement from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo may not have satisfied everyone, but at least it was substantive. The cardinal called for a “firm and decisive” response to the Vigano testimony, and repeated that he will ask Pope Francis to schedule an apostolic visitation of the American hierarchy. So how did those messages play on the Vatican News site? The headline on that site this morning read: “USCCB President: We will do better.” A promise to “do better” is appropriate for a schoolboy whose parents are disappointed with his grades; it’s not appropriate for successors to the Apostles who have been covering up the scandalous behavior of one of their most prominent colleagues. More to the point, the headline is a grossly inaccurate summary of what Cardinal DiNardo actually said. (To be fair, Vatican News quoted the cardinal’s statement in full, and gave prominent notice to his call for a response to the Vigano statement. As is so often the case, the fault is more with the headline than with the content.)

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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 28, 2018 5:43 PM ET USA

    As a cardinal of the Church, Cupich should know that the bigger agenda, such as one's personal musings about global warming, will be lost if one has demonstrated trouble telling right from wrong about a child rape.

  • Posted by: Eric - Aug. 28, 2018 3:45 PM ET USA

    While not charmed that Archbishop Vigano chose to go public with this, rather than work with trusted American bishops first, it's still depressing. Note how NO ONE has denied the claims, all they have done is tried to smear Vigano, or deflect the issue (see above). I'm certain the pope was guided by a mistaken view of mercy, but then why seek him out for advice on bishop appointments? I just don't understand.