A Single Earthshaking Word from a Philadelphia Courtroom

By: Saturday June 23, 2012 9:07 am

Forty-five times the word “Guilty” rang out over the head of Jerry Sandusky, but that’s nothing compared with the single “Guilty” spoken in the Philadelphia courtroom where Monsignor William Lynn was on trial for child endangerment. He didn’t abuse anyone, but moved a priest known to be a danger into another parish, where that priest continued his abusive ways.

That’s the verdict that ought to send shockwaves around the country. Whether you are a bishop, university administrator, or anyone else in a supervisory role, it’s better to face the music for the misdeeds of an underling than to try to sweep them under the rug and pretend nothing ever happened.

 

Questioning the Paternalism of Patriarchs

By: Saturday May 5, 2012 9:00 am

Patriarchal paternalism is at the heart of leadership, according to the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in their assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Sadly, that kind of paternalistic leadership rarely works out well. See the stories pouring out of a Philadelphia courtroom over the last month, or the horrific story from Sister Joan Chittister, OSB from her recent trip to Africa.

I thank God for those who speak out against anyone who imperiously looks at the world and asks “Who are you to question us?” I thank God for the sisters of LCWR, and especially for Sister Joan.

Choosing Between Two Visions of Institutional Loyalty at Penn State

By: Saturday November 12, 2011 9:00 am

Institutions faced with allegations of criminal misconduct like the rape of children have a choice. The president of Penn State, following the model used by the bishops of the Roman Catholic church, backed his athletic director and VP for finance unconditionally when they were indicted. But the Board of Trustees took a different path, demanding openness to wherever the investigations by prosecutors takes them. That kind of institutional loyalty will, in the long run, help Penn State come to grips with what has happened in their midst — much more so than attempts to cover up, make excuses, and otherwise keep silent.

I’ve been a campus pastor, and my heart goes out to the campus pastors at Penn State. But one of them has a much tougher assignment than the others: Father Matthew Laffey. The Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia is facing a remarkably similar criminal indictment of Monsignor William Lynn, the former assistant to the former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn faces trial next March on charges that he protected priests he knew to be pedophiles, with the knowledge and support of his boss, the Cardinal. It doesn’t help matters for Father Matthew that Penn State’s Catholic campus ministry is in the middle of constructing the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center. (That’s Mrs. JoPa.)

Good luck with all that, Father Matthew.

Do You Get the Feeling We’re the Adversaries Deputy Defense Secretary Lynn Is Talking About?

By: Wednesday October 27, 2010 8:06 am

I can’t help but wonder whether William Lynn is using the term “adversary” rather loosely.

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