Diary

You Cannot Tell the Truth in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Around 10:00 AM yesterday morning, I read the story Archdiocese of Philadelphia spins off Downingtown psychiatric center where pedophile priests were sent in The Philadelphia Inquirer, and I made two comments. Several hours later, my initial comment was still there:

This article ignores one important point: the accused priests sent to Vianney couldn’t be reported to law enforcement, due to patient privacy laws. Accusations made to the archdiocese could be reported, but it was the archdiocese, not the Vianney Center, which took the decisions as to what to do with accused priests after receiving reports from the Vianney Center.

The Inquirer’s website does not provide separate links to individual comments.

However, I made a second comment, which the system accepted, and was posted, noting that the majority of victims of the predatory priests were teenaged boys, yet that couldn’t be retained, because it might be seen as condemnatory of homosexuality. By 5:12 PM EST, that comment had disappeared, but there were, at that time, nine red tabs noting “comment disabled.”

Now there’s a new article up, Former adviser to Monaco’s royal family and DeSales University priest charged in Philly child porn case. In it the readers are told that the Rev. William McCandless, from the Wilmington-based religious order Oblates de St. Francis De Sales, has been arrested on possession of child pornography charges.

But the charges unsealed Wednesday were not the first time McCandless had been accused of misconduct. In fact, his overseas assignment in 2010 was announced the same summer the clergy sex abuse watchdog group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called for his suspension, saying his name had surfaced in an ongoing clergy abuse lawsuit.

According to the organization, a sex abuse victim said in a sworn deposition filed in Delaware courts that McCandless had once admitted to him that he abused a 14-year-old French boy attending a church camp.

Details of that deposition could not be immediately confirmed on Wednesday.

At the time, McCandless had been assigned to the Salesianum School, a Catholic private high school in Wilmington. He had also previously served for seven years as a chaplain at North Catholic High School in Philadelphia.

I am surprised that the article author, Jeremy Roebuck, mentioned that there was an allegation that Father McCandless molested a “14-year-old French boy” rather than just a “14-year-old.” The story said to check back later; I wonder if that part will be changed.

The John Jay report noted that sexual abuse cases studied between 1950 and 2002 indicated that, rather than prepubescent children, abusers targeted older children:

The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7. Overall, 81% of victims were male and 19% female. Male victims tended to be older than female victims. Over 40% of all victims were males between the ages of 11 and 14.

The Inquirer doesn’t have a nifty masthead tagline like The New York Times’ All the News That’s Fit to Print or The Washington Post’s Johnny-come-lately Democracy Dies in Darkness, added after the horrible Donald Trump was elected, but if it did, it should read something like All the News That’s Politically Correct . . . and noting that the sexual abuse problem among the Catholic priesthood is primarily one of homosexual attraction to teenaged boys is anything but politically correct.

The credentialed media like to believe that they are the guardians of truth and the defenders of a democratic society, but what so many of them have become is the guardians of truthiness. When the facts are inconvenient, when the truth does not fit the editors’ notions of what can be said, when the facts upset the #woke, well, the Inquirer has its problems with the idiots, and Executive Editor and Senior Vice President Stan Wischnowski was fired resigned because he published the article “Buildings Matter, Too,” which expressed concern that some historic buildings in Philadelphia had been and more could be damaged in the #BlackLivesMatter protests.

If we cannot expect the Inquirer to print the truth when the truth is not what they want their readers to see, how can we have any confidence that what they do print is the truth, rather than just some shaded version of it?
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