A great value of contemporary journalism and published commentary is that technology has made it easy for readers to offer instant responses. These modern-day letters to the editor often are as revealing as the writing that prompted them. A Sept. 10 New York Times op-ed piece, for example, by staff columnist Frank Bruni, is interesting not just for its substance but also for the readers’ reactions (there were about 150 at last glance).
Bruni cites a pair of high-profile cases of child sex predators. One, inevitably, is the infamous Jerry Sandusky.
Decades of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy is a grim reality for untold thousands of victims and a source of disgust for non-victims. It would be difficult to find anyone unaware of these cases and the resulting media coverage.
But another kind of malfeasance by Catholic church officials is less well known. It’s the topic of an investigation by the highly regarded periodical The Economist. In a recent issue of the London-based magazine (paper and online), the reporting is largely concerned with the ways Catholic officials have finagled church finances in order to seem poorer when court settlements are at hand.