After the conclusion of today’s midday press conference there was a microphone open. One of the bishops said clearly: "Did we get away with it?"
Clearly, this was tongue in cheek. This wasn’t a dodge. These press conferences inevitably devolve into the same stupid questions about the sexual abuse crisis from the half-informed looking for more dirt with which to tittilate their editors.
At the end of the conference, by the way, Cardinal George, the new president of the USCCB, made an interesting observation that probably zoomed over the heads of some of the journalists. He spoke about how the journalists create "realities" by their choices of what to report on and how they write it. He raised the rhetorical question if those created realities correspond to reality.
Some years ago I heard Card. George exhort (and simultaneously beat the stuffing) out of Catholic journalists at a meeting of the Catholic Press Association in Chicago. He said that journalists have the primary duty to report not so much on the doings of clerics (this was before the scandals erupted), but rather about the life of grace among all the people of God. He said that in order to report on the life of grace, journalists must recognize grace at work.
He said they could recognize grace at work only if they too were in the state of grace.
The huge room full of journalists laughed.
I was at one of the closest tables, maybe 15 feet away. I saw the muscles of the Cardinal’s jaw flex and tighten. Then he really let go and… ZOOM… I am sure they understood little of what he was beating them with, it was so elegant and profound.
But he said it and I have never forgotten.