Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clintonesque Response of Bridgeport Diocese

Strange story as told by Joe Pisani:

Thinking our story was going to appear last Sunday, another pastor responded prematurely and put a column in the parish bulletin and on the Web site that said: "The recent article in the Stamford Advocate requires some response. While I can't answer every point in this brief piece, I would like to address some." But the points he chose to address were not even part of our story.

He wrote: "The paper's proposed solution to the present church crisis is that clerical celibacy be made optional or abolished." Where did he get that idea? Since the very beginning of our reporting, the issue of abolishing celibacy had never even been discussed.

The essay continued: "The Advocate article used this scandal as the springboard for marshaling every unhappy group or individual, whether ideologically Left or Right, Catholic or otherwise, to give vent to their vitriol against the Catholic Church and against the priesthood in general, and Bishop Lori in particular." Wrong again. This story was a result of the many calls, e-mail and letters we received from devout practicing Catholics who love the church. Clearly, it would have been wiser if he had waited to read the story before writing his impassioned response.

Contrary to the diocese's campaign of disinformation and demagoguery, the misrepresented and maligned story, which appears on Page One of today's paper, is not filled with "innuendo and gossip." It is not a "witch hunt." And it does not "name names." It is rather a story about concerned parishioners who are looking for answers and ecclesiastical accountability and who sincerely want every one of their priests to honor his vows. This is a fair story.

And just as it would be a tragic injustice for us, as a newspaper, to impugn the reputation of many priests because of the transgressions of a few, it would be an equally tragic injustice for the diocese to imperil the reputation of the many by ignoring the transgressions of a few.