Is the Catholic Church now responsible for hunting down and shadowing every past employee accused of abuse, and then constantly publicizing their whereabouts, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred? A recent front page article for the Philadelphia Daily News by William Bender certainly appears to suggest so.
There can be no doubt that the alleged crimes committed by former Philadelphia priest James Brzyski years ago were abominable. But in an especially bad piece of journalism filled with hype and sensationalism (see the image of the front page of the Daily News that day), Bender quite incredibly faults the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for not issuing perpetual public updates on the exact whereabouts of Brzyski, even though he last functioned as a priest some 30 years ago.
Consider the following facts which Bender either ignored or only summarily mentioned:
- Records show that when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia first learned of allegations of abuse concerning Brzyski in 1984, it immediately removed him from his assignment;
- Bryzyski never again functioned publicly as a priest once the Archdiocese removed him; and
- the Archdiocese has publicly posted Brzyski's assignment record on its web site for several years for anyone with an internet connection to review.
A special standard for the Catholic Church
Yet these facts appear to mean little to the Daily News' Bender. Despite the fact that Byzyski was last employed by the Catholic Church nearly three decades ago, Bender darkly warns:
"Brzyski is able to move from one community to another in relative anonymity – at least until his behavior gives him away – because the Archdiocese won't disclose his whereabouts."
"Won't disclose his whereabouts"? Really? Exactly what other organization tracks down and then publicizes the current addresses and phone numbers of former employees merely accused of abuse over a quarter of a century ago? Philadelphia Public Schools? The Boy Scouts? Some Hollywood studio? The Philly Daily News? Bender doesn't say.Neither does Bender mention that the Catholic Church has now done more than any institution on the planet in implementing measures to safeguard children. No other group even comes close.
Instead, in his article Bender turns to the predictable National Director of the anti-Catholic group SNAP, David Clohessy, who naturally agrees with Bender's implication that the Catholic Church should risk criminal and civil liability and track the exact whereabouts of its former employees and then hold regular press conferences to announce the results of its monitoring of former employees.
Ironically, the hysterical Clohessy never reported to police back in the 1990s that his own brother Kevin, a Catholic priest, was sexually molesting innocent young boys.
And to this day, neither Clohessy nor SNAP has ever once publicly reported the current whereabouts of Kevin. Yet that never stopped David from boldly claiming to Bender that Catholic bishops somehow have the "the moral and civic duty" to monitor and publicize the current whereabouts of its former abusive priests.
The hypocrisy is staggering, yet Bender appears so blinded by the dominant media narrative about sex abuse and the Catholic Church that he is unable to make sense of the simple facts in front of him.