Cardinal Law perfects his Sergeant Schultz Impression

Q. Who is Archbishop Levada?

A. He is the Archbishop of San Francisco.

Q. Where was he in 1985?

A. Oh, I can’t remember. I’m not even sure he was a bishop in 1985. I’m really not certain where he was in 1985.

Q. He was the secretary to your committee at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; is that correct?

A. Bishop Levada? Archbishop Levada?

Q. Yes.

A. I don’t recall what he was doing in 1985. I’d have to check the records.

Q. But you don’t know whether he was ever secretary to the committee that you chaired?

A. Well, as I recall, he would not have been a staff — he never was a staff person of the conference, and so we wouldn’t have had a secretary to the committee. The committee would be a group of bishops. If he was a bishop member of the committee, it’s — he would have been a member of the committee.

Q. Right.

A. He would not have had the title of secretary.

Q. But my question is —

A. I cannot recollect whether in 1985 he was a bishop or not.

Q. My question — I think you may have answered it, but just for the record, so it’s clear, you have no recollection whatsoever of having any involvement with setting up an ad hoc committee to deal with the issue of sexual abuse in the clergy. Is that your testimony?

A. I have no recollection of that. However, it’s conceivable that our committee did set up — that I did set up a subcommittee. I just have no recollection of that.

My question: How are depositions done? Is it really conceivable that Cardinal Law made no preparations for his deposition? Never checked the records for the period of time under review? Never examined his files to slightly jog his memory about about what, in the past, he might have done with respect to sexual abuse? Did he really just wander into the deposition without any preparation at all? I mean, I don’t remember what I was doing in 1985 either. So if you asked me cold what I was doing, I might mumble too. But then, I’m not a bishop with a bureaucratic paper trail 20 miles long and a staff of people who can find the files I need. Particularly files that pertain to the gravest crisis the American Church has ever faced. What’s wrong with this picture?