Date: July 17, 2005
Sent to but not published in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Senator Santorum has been getting a very bad press in the Boston newspapers. He has been described as being insensitive to the victims of priestly abuse and as being stupid for linking that abuse to the liberal culture of Massachusetts. I have a different perspective on his words.

I believe that we should be truly sorry for Senator Santorum. Here is a devout Catholic (or so we are told) who is struggling to reconcile his belief that the Church can do no wrong with his knowledge that Priests in his Church have engaged in the most horrendous of sins (harming little children) and that their acts were facilitated by their supervisor, Cardinal Bernard Law. In trying to deal with that dissonance, he is projecting blame on to the liberal culture of Boston.

Of course, it does not work: priestly abuse of children seems to have been universal in the Catholic church from Newfoundland to San Francisco. Cardinal Law, in my view the true villain, was no Massachusetts liberal. Cardinal Law's decision to turn a blind eye to the actions of the pedophiles came from his misguided sense of duty to the institutional Church rather than choosing to be a good shepherd to his flock. It had nothing to do with liberal Massachusetts.