When I used to work across town at the Washington Times, I always used to envy the ability of our crosstown rival, the Washington Post, to run articles by not just one, but two, maybe even three reporters.
Multiple bylines are possible only for very large papers. The rest of us only had ourselves to rely on.
Thus I was interested in the triple-bylined Post’s take on Washington’s newest Catholic archbishop, Wilton Gregory, who will move from the Atlanta archdiocese to Washington when he’s installed on May 21.
I am guessing they had to put three reporters on the story because they had to come up with some decent reporting on Gregory’s appointment quickly. When the dust settled, it was pretty clear that the reporting team at the Post was less than impressed with Gregory, who will be the city’s first black archbishop and probably a cardinal in coming years. This see typically brings a red hat with it.
So here’s the piece, with a long anecdote leading into it:
When the first Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis erupted in the early 2000s, Wilton Gregory led hundreds of defensive and divided bishops in passing the most aggressive action on abuse in U.S. church history.
But Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke remembers something else about Gregory, who was selected this month by Pope Francis to head the prestigious D.C. archdiocese.
As one of the laypeople Gregory appointed to serve on an advisory board to the bishops, Burke was struck by an inquiry he made to her one night when they found themselves alone after a meeting. He wanted to know how she’d been able to visit Vatican officials for her research on abuse.
She’d Googled “Vatican,” she told him, selected several offices she thought were related to the abuse issue, then faxed letters asking to visit.
“His face was ashen. ‘You what?’ ” she recalls him saying. At 55, that was, she believed, Gregory’s first experience with laypeople who went outside the chain of command.
His shock at her ability to get around protocol startled her, she said, and told her something important — that it was nearly impossible for Gregory to see things from an outside-the-church perspective. “His whole life has been devoted to this institution that’s a bureaucracy — to the point where he doesn’t know how infiltrated he is in that fabric.”
What follows is a profile on a company man who’s had to do the dirty work -- at times –- in cleaning things up after sex abuse allegations have leveled a diocese.