A week that captured the bedeviling complexity of Catholic life


September 29, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Few things can be said about Catholicism with absolute certainty, but here’s one: Both people and situations in the Church are almost always more complicated than they may seem.

Two developments this week brought that point home anew, one related to the sexual abuse crisis and the other to the death of an American churchman.

On Wednesday, I moderated a panel on the crisis at the University of Notre Dame that included veteran Catholic journalist Peter Steinfels; Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI official and onetime director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child Protection; Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest who’s become a confidante of Pope Francis on the abuse issue; and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

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