Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blair cover-up project

Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, has a conundrum on his hands. He recently tried to replace a popular pastor at a parish with a new pastor of the bishop's choosing.

The old pastor, Fr. Thomas Leyland, said he was being forced out for criticizing the bishop, in violation of canon law. He appealed to the Vatican.

Now, it comes out that the priest the bishop tried to put into the parish, Fr. David Nuss, allegedly had an affair with a woman. And the bishop has known about this for some time.

Okay, first, how stupid was the bishop to insert this priest into an explosive situation knowing that he had this skeleton in his closet? He didn't know this could come out>

Second, Blair apparently acted as if this was all news to him when parishioners confronted him with this information earlier this month, but on Sunday the diocesan spokesman came clean. Here's the excuse:

"He knew about it, but he treated it as you would treat a sin in a confessional manner," said Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Toledo Catholic Diocese. "We don't publish people's sins."

Until now apparently. Until the bishop's hide is on the line. Then all bets are off. If he treated it like it was under the seal of the confessional, then it should never come out no matter what.

But if it wasn't actually a confession, why should Blair treat it as if it was? Why should Blair protect Nuss under these circumstances?

Finally, have these bishops learned nothing? As the old axiom says: "It ain't the crime; it's the cover up." Had Blair simply done the right thing up front, we wouldn't be reading about in the paper. Instead we see that despite all the audits and mandatory training and criminal background checks of volunteers, there's still no one doing anything about those most responsible for the mess we're in--apart from the sexual predators themselves--the bishops.

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