A friend sends this analysis of the Scandal and the US bishops’ reaction to it:
Suppose you wanted to find out how healthy sliders were. Anybody—anybody—who really wanted to know would talk to night-shift guy working for $6.40/hr at Midwest Frozen Meats, Inc., and ask him what he actually puts into the grinders and the mixing drums when filling the White Castle orders: how much fat, how much gristle, what percentage of tainted or too-old or freezer burned meat, how much pork or chicken, how much cereal, etc. And if you had special access (say, as a USDA inspector), you’d check things out at both ends of the process, making surprise visits at the meat supplier and surprise visits at the retail outlets and running an E. Coli count on the samples.
If, on the other hand, you were a Catholic bishop and were charged wth this task, you would phone the marketing execs at White Castle corporate headquarters and ask their considered opinion of the quality and nutritional value of their company’s products. Having gotten a satisfactory answer, your tail is covered and your duty is done. Next problem? …
The paradox is too great to be merely ironic. This is more than just a reflection of a high number of conflict-averse personalities with miters on their heads. Those who pass on information up the ladder (where passing it up is avoidable) are punished for doing so. It’s not simply that the bishops do not want to know: what they want, acutely, is not to know. The first is the lack of a particular appetite, the second is a strong desire for a particular kind of security.
If this seems exaggerated, think of Bishop Wuerl’s article in America this past summer regarding the “new and serious apostolic visitation of seminaries.” Wuerl endorses the “college accreditation model” of visitation, where the accrediting agency asks the pertinent institution to do a self-evaluation, and then sends in a friendly team to discuss the results and make suggestions for improvement. Again, this is asking White Castle’s marketing hacks to do their own E. Coli analysis. An honest man can not hold this position.