Morning Note from the Newsroom: The Church Series
By Matt Golas
July 11, 2006
[See other articles in this series:
Sins of Our Fathers, by Dave Janoski, Times Leader (7/9/06)
Shame of the Diocese: Allegations? Move Father Caparelli. More Allegations?
Move Father Caparelli. Convictions? Keep Quiet, by Dave Janoski, Times
Church Re-Educates Itself: Changing Attitudes: The Catholic Church Has
Mandated Special Training to Recognize Sexual Abuse and Abusers, by
Mark Guydish, Times Leader (7/9/06)
Feel Hurt, Angry, Guilty by Association: When Scandal Breaks, Say Innocent
Pastors, They and Flock Get Caught in Turmoil, by Mary Therese Biebel,
Times Leader (7/9/06).
Note from the Newsroom: the Church Series, by Matt Golas, Times Leader
The first segment of our four-part series that examines crucial challenges
and opportunities facing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton appeared
this past Sunday and has produced a great deal of spectrum spanning reaction.
Part one, a handful of stories, which included an investigation into how
the diocese handled known sexual abusers in its ranks, produced a response
that ranged from astonishment that we would devote so much newsprint to
an old negative story, to appreciation for finally making sure that an
important subject that was buried in court documents and diocesan files
saw the light of day.
We have heard from priests, some even had some choice words for the Times
Leader from the pulpit Sunday, parishioners, non-Catholics, law enforcement
officials and people who also claim to have been victimized by abusive
While we haven't heard from the Diocese, some of us were on the phone
with Bishop Emeritus Timlin yesterday.
The Bishop had not responded to repeated requests for an interview by
the newspaper during the months when we were reporting and writing the
We felt it was important to speak to him because much of the abuse, treatment
and reassignment of troubled priests occurred on his watch. While we wanted
Timlin to have voice in the series, the Diocese told us he would have
In yesterday's phone conversations, while the Bishop would not go on the
record with us and could not point out any errors in the coverage, he
did say he wanted to make sure we understood how hurtful the stories were
to him and all Catholics.
He said he just wanted to vent.
So we asked him to write a commentary piece that we would run on the editorial
pages. We asked him to tell his side of the story from his unique perspective.
Timlin, who stressed that he was not speaking for the Diocese of Scranton,
told us he would like to do that but would need to seek permission from
the Diocese before writing anything.
We have the space, as much as you need Bishop, set aside.
We hope to hear from you, on the record.
By the way, check out our web poll on this subject at www.timesleader.com
Coming this Sunday: we take a look at some hard numbers that detail the
priest shortage and parish consolidations taking place in the Diocese.
We also examine a big parish that is working well through the challenges
and tell you about the expanding role of the laity in the church.
Drop me a line,
Matt Golas, Editor, 570 829 7162 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org