Holy smoke! We're talking big Catholic news from the Archdiocese of Chicago!

We've all done it.

You are writing a story about a complex topic -- on religion or some other tough topic -- and you crank out what seems like a perfectly normal summary paragraph. You read over the story several times. So does your editor.

Things look normal. Then a reader sends you an email that basically says, "What the heck were you thinking?" Maybe this reader uses stronger language than that.

So you read said paragraph once again and the scales fall from your eyes. You immediately think, "What the heck was I thinking?" Maybe, silently, you use stronger language than that.

Palm. Face.

When it comes to religion stuff, GetReligion readers often send us the URLs for stories of this kind. Consider, for example, the following story from The Chicago Tribune. The editorial train wreck in this hard-news story, focusing on a local Catholic scandal, doesn't take place until the very end. Still, here is the top of the story for some context:

A popular Roman Catholic priest who attended the pope's address to Congress last month has been removed from ministry because of an "inappropriate relationship with an adult man," the Chicago Archdiocese announced. ...

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich removed the Rev. Marco Mercado, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, withdrawing his authority to minister. The Rev. Adan Sandoval Duron, head of the archdiocese's new Hispanic Council, has been appointed interim administrator, and Mercado will live away from the shrine.

"As a human being I am not perfect, but as a priest my priority has always been the work of the Gospel and the struggle for immigrants and the most vulnerable," Mercado said in a statement. "I pray that this issue is resolved soon, and I ask for your prayers, at the same time that I apologize if this scandal has caused any hardship to the faithful."

Then, near the end, the story links to information about a recent scandal in Rome, when a Polish priest on the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith -- Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa -- held a press conference saying he is gay and in a relationship with a man. (Click here for my post on that.) The Vatican was not amused, especially since -- as the Tribune story notes -- doing this presser "on the eve of a synod of bishops to discuss family issues was 'grave and irresponsible.' "

This brings us to the final paragraph, focusing on Chicago's archbishop. Read carefully.

Cupich is one of eight American delegates at that synod. He has ruled out any changes to the church's teaching regarding gay marriage.

Wait? Everyone knows that the Chicago archdiocese has a lot of clout. But its archbishop -- all by himself -- has the power to make that kind of decision? He has "ruled out any changes to the church's teaching regarding gay marriage"? 

Wow. Now that is some stunning news. I think there are some crucial words missing from that particular paragraph.

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