On Monday evening, Irish television station RTE One revealed the existence of a 1997 Vatican letter to the Bishops of Ireland, forcing them to back down from mandating that bishops report abusive priests to the secular authorities. The letter came with a threat attached, that if the bishops took action against a priest and the priest appealed to Rome, Rome would back the priest and the bishop would end up with a black eye.

The saddest part of the whole thing? This threat worked.