This weekend’s think piece is two think pieces in one.
As a bonus, I think I have found a foolproof way to determine how editors of a given publication have answered the crucial question: What is the decades-old Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal all about?
Well, let me qualify that a bit: This journalistic test that I am proposing works really well with the drama surrounding ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, since he has been accused of several different kinds of sexual abuse with males of different ages.
The editorial test: Search an article for the word “seminary” or variations on that term.
Let’s start with the Atlantic essay that ran with this headline: “The Sex-Abuse Scandal Is Growing Faster Than the Church Can Contain It.” Here’s a sample of the language:
“Many strands are coming together,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, a historian of Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. “It does seem like we are reaching a watershed moment.” By Thursday, there had been so many new developments that she said she was having a hard time keeping up — and that the leaders at the Vatican probably were, too. “I think they’re scrambling. The news is coming on so many fronts. I think they don’t know quite what to do.” Here is some of what they nevertheless did this week.
The article does mention the controversial public testimony published by the Vatican’s former ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, without really getting into the details other than to its call for Pope Francis to resign.
There is another summary statement later:
Pope Francis on Wednesday summoned bishops from around the world to a first-of-its-kind meeting in Rome in February. The focus will be on protecting minors, and bishops will reportedly receive training in identifying abuse, intervening, and listening to victims.