26 September 2010

What the Pope Knew

Greg Erlandson offers his thoughts about CNN's "What the Pope Knew." In part, he says in his post, "CNN's missed opportunity":

Most compelling about the special were the conversations with the victims. To hear them describe their shame, to see their anger all these years later at what priests did to them, is to be reminded yet again that terrible crimes were done and many lives were damaged, even ruined. That fact no one can deny.

It is unfortunate that, even in the television wasteland of weekend evening cable, CNN did not see fit to make a real contribution to a better understanding of the crisis. It would have helped, for example, if Tuchman had shed light on the Church’s own understanding of canon law regarding ordination, the priesthood and sexual abuse violations.

CNN could also have talked at greater length with bishops like Archbishop Weakland and Bishop * Cummins of Oakland to find out why they found it so hard to supervise abuser priests with the authority they always possessed. And Tuchman might have documented the many changes the Church has made to safeguard children and root out dangerous priests, while putting it all within a larger context: How society has grown in its understanding of the crime of sexual abuse, and how other organizations, like the Church, have been improving their safeguards as well, often looking to the Church for advice on how to do this.

If CNN had been less focused on bolstering a lawyer’s self-serving efforts to build a case and had sought to update the public’s understanding of a scandal, it might have actually performed a service, instead of tarnishing its own fading reputation for solid reporting.
The rest of his thoughts can be read here.

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