Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Vatican

This story never was, “Priests abuse kids.” It was always (or should have been) the response of the organization to the allegations.

I’m from Pittsburgh, and I couldn’t help but notice the difference: I think the contrast in appropriate response could not be a more clear one.

“Let me start with an update of Ben Roethlisberger’s situation.

“As you know, on Tuesday Ben met with Commissioner Goodell in New York. … I have informed the Commissioner that the Pittsburgh Steelers are prepared to take disciplinary action at this point.

“However, I want to make clear that any discipline will be agreed to and coordinated between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Commissioner. In other words, there will not be two separate decisions on discipline.

“Let me say at this point that we believe that each of our players not only has a responsibility to live up to the highest standards on the field, but also to equally high standards off the field. Receiving the support of the Pittsburgh Steelers fans all over the world is something that must be earned.

“I have made it clear to Ben that his conduct in this incident did not live up to our standards. We have made it very clear to Ben that there will be consequences for his actions …

Art Rooney II’s Full Statement (4/15/10)

This occurred immediately on learning the depth of the problem. Contrast that with various “investigations” held by the Catholic Church — now note, I’m not comparing the seriousness of the crimes/offenses committed respectively by Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and, uh, hundreds of Roman Catholic Priests.

Rather, my intent is to compare the responses of the two organizations.

Note, from an official investigation document, not from any media source, how the Roman Catholic Church dealt with the investigations:

One unifying strand in all of the complainants‟ evidence heard by the Commission was the sense of dismay and anger felt by them that their Church, in which they had placed the utmost faith and trust, had in their view, duped and manipulated them over the years and that it had done so in order to preserve its reputation and its assets. Unlike Church authorities, complainants did not perceive any distinction between their local church and the universal church. They were shocked by the growing realisation that their Church founded on a gospel of love, truth and justice could treat its own members, many of them defenceless children, so shabbily.
 
…

Marie Collins was particularly angered by the use by Church authorities of ‘mental reservation’ in dealing with complaints. Mental reservation is a concept developed and much discussed over the centuries, which permits a churchman knowingly to convey a misleading impression to another person without being guilty of lying. …

Cardinal Connell explained the concept of mental reservation to the Commission in the following way:
 
“Well, the general teaching about mental reservation is that you are not permitted to tell a lie. On the other hand, you may be put in a position where you have to answer, and there may be circumstances in which you can use an ambiguous expression realising that the person who you are talking to will accept an untrue version of whatever it may be – permitting that to happen, not willing that it happened, that would be lying. It really is a matter of trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters that may arise in social relations where people may ask questions that you simply cannot answer. Everybody knows that this kind of thing is liable to happen. So, mental reservation is, in a sense, a way of answering without lying.”

Rome’s Institutionally Sanctioned Lying

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