Tools for thinking about the Vatican’s two latest scandals


John L. Allen Jr. EDITOR

ROME – Journalists often are accused of reporting only bad news, and there’s often a fair bit of truth to the charge. Experience shows that scandal and controversy sell, while feel-good, uplifting material sometimes struggles to find a market, but that’s not really an excuse for failing to present the whole picture.

At the same time, the press also has an important role to play in bringing hard truths to light, which institutions usually would prefer to keep hidden. If the Catholic Church has learned anything from the sexual abuse scandals, it’s that refusing to confront bad news only makes it worse.

There are two such less-than-edifying stories bubbling in and around the Vatican at the moment, so here I’ll try to offer some resources for thinking intelligently about each – without implying that such situations are the only things the Vatican, or the Catholic Church, has going on at the moment worth knowing.

Vatican diplomat and child pornography

On Sept. 15, the Vatican issued a brief press release announcing that one of its priest-diplomats at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., was suspected by the U.S. government of possible violation of child pornography laws and had been recalled to Rome.

The Promoter of Justice in the Vatican’s tribunal, it said, had opened an investigation and had requested information from the U.S. government, adding that those investigations are “subject to confidentiality.”

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