Deacon Greg, as usual, has the story.
So, there’s this Archbishop in St Louis who is accused of the same old enabling of child sex abuse by a priest stuff we’ve gotten to know too well. Mr Archbishop gave a deposition about these accusations.
In that deposition, he did the lawyered-up, don’t-give-them-anything di-doh. It was a masterful performance of I don’t know nothin, sung to the tune of I Can’t Remember.
The all-time show-stopper was when the attorney asked Mr Archbishop if he knew that the act of an adult having sex with a child was a crime back when all this was going on. “I’m not sure if I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it was a crime,” Mr Archbishop answered. The look on his face while he said it was classic the-dog-ate-my-homework.
The attorney pursued it, and the Archbishop kept right on lying.
If you’ve got the stomach for it, have a look.
I didn’t write about this when I first saw it because, to be honest, it made me sick. I felt so sad. Bereft, almost. I had nothing to say. I just wanted to go away from this and not deal with it.
Then, just to make sure that nobody ever believes him again, the Archbishop started the second quadrille to his little dance. Deacon Greg covered it. Mr Archbishop had the St Louis Archdiocese release another the-dog-ate-my-homework statement.
This time, it was a totally idiotic accusation that inaccurate and misleading reporting “has impugned Archbishop Carlson’s good name and reputation.” This was so daft it made me question if they knew that there was a video of the deposition out there on YouTube.
The letter goes on. But it doesn’t matter. We have the video.
Now Mr Archbishop has released a letter over his own signature. He also put up a video of himself, reading the letter. I see no point in going over what he said, since he essentially didn’t say anything. It was just typical I-wuz-robbed boilerplate.
The reason I’m finally writing about this today is simple. I want to tell the Archbishop something that he doesn’t seem to get: You made your choice.
I understand that the wise person takes their attorney’s advice when they testify. I also understand that we have a thing called the Fifth Amendment to protect people in situations like this. I further understand that an attorney who deliberately counseled a client to lie under oath would be guilty of subornation of perjury.
So, I rather doubt that your attorney, Mr Archbishop, told you to do this. Not in so many words. They may have said something like, don’t conjecture unless you remember precisely. It’s best to say, “I don’t know” unless you are absolutely certain. But I doubt very much that your attorney counseled you to go out there and lie under oath.
Testifying under oath is a scary deal for most of us and testifying on something like this, where you flat out know your are wrong, must be a real horror.
But you jumped the shark on this one. And there’s no turning back. It’s a done deal. And you — and every other Catholic in the world — is going to have to live with it.
It all began with enabling priests to sexually abuse children, you know. That is so egregious that nobody, and I mean nobody except maybe your mother, is going to buy the idea that it was anything but an absolute violation of your priesthood.
That’s what got this started. And it wasn’t just you, Mr Archbishop. It was a lot of your colleagues. It was rife. It was what might be called a practice.
Fortunately, I personally know a bishop who called the authorities at the first step. I am grateful to him beyond words for having done that. It gives me hope about our leadership.
But it appears that you, Mr Archbishop, did not make that stand-up choice. Which leads to the point.
It was, is and always has been, on you.
You made your choice then. You made your choice at that deposition.
When, if ever, are you going to stop trying to deny it?
You. Did. Wrong.
As a wrong-doer myself, I can forgive that. I also understand that no matter what any of us has done, we still don’t want to pay the price. There is nothing so terrifying as getting caught in your own dirt. We all want to run. I know. I’ve done my share of running away in my life.
Forgiveness comes easy from someone like me. I’ve done so much, had so much done to me, and been forgiven so much, how could it be otherwise?
I think I can forgive just about anything. All you’ve gotta do is tell me you’re sorry. But you, Mr Archbishop, are not asking for forgiveness. If you’re sorry, it looks like what you’re sorry about is getting caught.
As a Catholic who is trying to follow her Church, who actually wants to believe you, I am beaten.
I can’t believe you. I don’t. I can’t follow you. I won’t.
You made your choice, Mr Archbishop. It’s a done deal.
For another take on this, check out Frank Weathers.