The AP on 'The Fog of Scandal'

Today the Associated Press ran a story on Ana Maria Catanzaro's Commonweal article, "The Fog of Scandal." If you've read the piece, you won't learn much, but the story does contain a couple of interesting items.First, Nicholas Cafardi--former chair of the National Review Board and author of "Another Long Lent" (among several other Commonweal articles)--told the AP that Catanzaro "should feel very, very used. They're being asked to give credibility to a process that is supposed to involve them but didn't."Second, in response to Catanzaro, the archdiocese said: "The observations of Dr. Catanzaro and other review-board members are critical to implementing the best possible methods." Yes, and that's precisely why an archbishop, or an auxiliary bishop, or any chancery official should not be cutting them out of the process. You'll recall from Catanzaro's piece that the Philadelphia review board did not see every allegation received by the archdiocese. Board members still do not know exactly how the archdiocese determines which cases to send to the board, nor do they know who makes the determination. Now the AP is reporting that the archdiocese has hired "a second former city prosecutor, Albert Toczydlowski, to ensure that complaints are thoroughly investigated and sent to the review board in a timely fashion." Better late than never, but it shouldn't take an ex-prosecutor to figure out that a diocesan review board won't work very well if it's not looking at all allegations received by the archdiocese. That is, after all, the point of review boards: to help bishops determine whether an allegation is credible, and whether to suspend the accused. No preliminary culling required. It's good that the archdiocese added another outside investigator, but they could have saved themselves some money if they'd simply announced that the practice of prescreening allegations had come to an end.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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