Morning Note from the Newsroom: The Church Series

By Matt Golas
Times Leader
July 11, 2006

[See other articles in this series:
- The Sins of Our Fathers, by Dave Janoski, Times Leader (7/9/06)
- The Shame of the Diocese: Allegations? Move Father Caparelli. More Allegations? Move Father Caparelli. Convictions? Keep Quiet, by Dave Janoski, Times Leader (7/9/06)
- A Church Re-Educates Itself: Changing Attitudes: The Catholic Church Has Mandated Special Training to Recognize Sexual Abuse and Abusers, by Mark Guydish, Times Leader (7/9/06)
- Priests Feel Hurt, Angry, Guilty by Association: When Scandal Breaks, Say Innocent Pastors, They and Flock Get Caught in Turmoil, by Mary Therese Biebel, Times Leader (7/9/06).
- Morning Note from the Newsroom: the Church Series, by Matt Golas, Times Leader (7/11/06).]

Good Morning,

The first segment of our four-part series that examines crucial challenges and opportunities facing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton appeared this past Sunday and has produced a great deal of spectrum spanning reaction.

Part one, a handful of stories, which included an investigation into how the diocese handled known sexual abusers in its ranks, produced a response that ranged from astonishment that we would devote so much newsprint to an old negative story, to appreciation for finally making sure that an important subject that was buried in court documents and diocesan files saw the light of day.

We have heard from priests, some even had some choice words for the Times Leader from the pulpit Sunday, parishioners, non-Catholics, law enforcement officials and people who also claim to have been victimized by abusive priests.

While we haven't heard from the Diocese, some of us were on the phone with Bishop Emeritus Timlin yesterday.

The Bishop had not responded to repeated requests for an interview by the newspaper during the months when we were reporting and writing the series.

We felt it was important to speak to him because much of the abuse, treatment and reassignment of troubled priests occurred on his watch. While we wanted Timlin to have voice in the series, the Diocese told us he would have no comment.

In yesterday's phone conversations, while the Bishop would not go on the record with us and could not point out any errors in the coverage, he did say he wanted to make sure we understood how hurtful the stories were to him and all Catholics.

He said he just wanted to vent.

So we asked him to write a commentary piece that we would run on the editorial pages. We asked him to tell his side of the story from his unique perspective.

Timlin, who stressed that he was not speaking for the Diocese of Scranton, told us he would like to do that but would need to seek permission from the Diocese before writing anything.

We have the space, as much as you need Bishop, set aside.

We hope to hear from you, on the record.

By the way, check out our web poll on this subject at

Coming this Sunday: we take a look at some hard numbers that detail the priest shortage and parish consolidations taking place in the Diocese. We also examine a big parish that is working well through the challenges and tell you about the expanding role of the laity in the church.

Drop me a line,
Matt Golas, Editor, 570 829 7162 or email me at


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