Frequent reader(s) of this blog have concluded that diminished expectations are the soporific of existence...er...we mean have concluded that, when it comes to explaining away the wholesale abandonment of your most fundamental principles while convincing the credulous you are a moral authority, nobody spins it like the catholics. Take the ongoing clergy sex scandal for example. The pope has blamed everybody except Sarah Palin for all the boinking going on in the sacristy, and while you might be saying, finally, something happens in the world that's not about Sarah Palin, the point is the pope has managed to say, at the same time, with a straight face, and without having his head explode, or more surprisingly, not being struck by lightening, that his church is the both the beacon of righteousness and goodness in the world and, raper of children.
Man. Talk about multi-tasking.
Well, it should come as no surprise then that when the authorities found a letter written to the bishops of Ireland telling them to keep the kid boinking on the down low and not inform local five o, his slipperiness was ready with an explanation.
The Vatican said that a newly leaked 1997 letter written to Irish bishops warning them about reporting sex abuse to police was misinterpreted as evidence of the church trying to enforce cover-ups. "'If the local fuzz gets word of this, the pope is going to be on you like ugly on a bulldog' can be interpreted many different ways," said a spokesperson from the vatican Office of Dissemblement.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico (Freddy Spoons) Lombardi denied that the letter was proof that the Holy See told Irish bishops not to report clerical sex abuse to the police. "That letter has been given biased treatment by some media outlets, who have presented it as proof of an instruction from the Vatican to cover up cases of sexual abuse of minors," Lombardi said. "I mean come on, quoting stuff right out of the letter? What kind of yellow journalism is that. Makes me think you mooks just don't like Italians. Who's the injured party here anyway?"
The letter, reportedly leaked to RTE by an Irish bishop, appeared to warn Ireland's bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police. That's not true, the church said. The letter was simply meant to make sure that Irish bishops followed canonical law and was not to protect pedophile priests. "And what's the first precept of canonical law?" asked Father Lombardi "We get to do what we want."
When asked what happens when canonical law runs afoul of local civil law, Father Lombardi referred reporters to the second precept of canonical law: See precept one.
"There's nothing in the letter that says do not obey the civil law," Jeffrey Lena, the U.S.-based attorney for the Vatican. "Of course there's also nothing in the letter that says don't spit into the wind, tug on Superman's cape, or mess around with the old Lone Ranger, so I can see how you think the matter is open to interpretation," he added.
Lena also issued a statement saying the letter had been "deeply misunderstood." He said the part about how "mandatory reporting gives rise to serious reservations" is really the pope's way of saying there's no way the vatican treasury could handle the fallout from all these pervs going public. "It's fiscal responsibility is what it is," he said.
Gotcha consigliere. Civil suits can be a serious drain on the cash flow. Might force a fellow to, oh we don't know, sell indulgences or something.