March 31, 2006

Church employs wanton deflection, holy shams

The Coloradoan

Natalie Costanza-Chavez

A scene on a black-and-white film reel captures the ploy - a policeman grabs a bad guy on a city street, a crowd peers at a pile of evidence spilling from a satchel, and the "caught" points dramatically to the sky as if to say - wild-eyed - "Look! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a bomb!" Everyone turns to look and the guilty ducks away, self-satisfied and smug.

Deflection. We expect it at the movies, from small children, at magic shows. It is, however, a surprise when the highest echelons of Colorado's Catholic Conference use it at the expense of people who have been abused by bad priests and at the expense of all Colorado Catholics by making their institution look even worse.

The church is arguing two bills (one in the House and one in the Senate) that would make it easier for victims of priests to sue the church are anti-Catholic and unfair. Their initial argument? That public schools aren't held to the same standard.

Is this how it went? A group of the Catholic powerful sat in a room discussing a strategy to keep the church safe from paying out potentially devastating amounts of money - and someone floated the idea of attacking the public schools as notorious enablers of sexual abuse?

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2006 08:29 AM