Forgive me, but lately I've been feeling sorry for Bill Donohue, the self-appointed (albeit well-remunerated) defender of the Catholic Church against all enemies foreign and domestic. After Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia died at the end of January on the eve of having to testify at the abuse coverup trial of his sometime henchman Msgr. William Lynn, Donohue delivered himself of "Cardinal Bevilacqua Treated Unfairly," a press release criticizing the obits--including the Catholic News Service for failing to mention "that he was never indicted for any alleged infraction." Now there's a testimonial for a prince of the church.
"Oh, they tried," continued Donohue. And you figure the prosecutors would have succeeded had they had in their possession what Lynn's lawyers presented to the court two weeks ago: the cardinal's handwritten note ordering the shredding of a memo identifying 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children. The lawyers contended that the note, which had been squirreled away for years in an archdiocesan safe, demonstrated that the coverup conspiracy had been orchestrated far above Lynn and they therefore asked the judge to dismiss the case. That the judge did nothing of the sort was entirely predictable. Did I mention that the lawyers are being paid for by the archdiocese of Philadelphia?
So what's a poor defender of the Church to do? Attack the lawyers for throwing Bevilacqua under the bus? Criticize the archdiocese for paying the lawyers? Berate the media for paying too much attention to the note? No, I've got it. How about a press release entitled "Cardinal Bevilacqua Not Treated Unfairly."