The Philadelphia Archdiocese was a topic this morning on “Inside Story,” a local news show on ABC. The panel discussed the recent move by the Archdiocese to discontinue tuition-free education at archdiocesan schools for the children of clergy sex abuse victims. They uniformly agreed that it was mishandled – especially on the communications front. The “best case study of bad public relations,” said journalist Larry Platt. Sadly, the public relations response mirrors the pastoral response to victims. No one was buying the cost cutting argument, either. Renee Amore pointed out that the archdiocese paid for priests’ legal fees.
They went on to discuss the March 22 Healing Mass. When panel moderator Tamala Edwards asked communications strategist Jeff Jubelirer what he thought, his response was – And? Mass is nice, but what else? Panelists agreed that archdiocesan efforts are falling far short of expectations. Larry Platt commented on the lack of an ongoing archdiocesan program. That reminded me of the “Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese,” program Archbishop Chaput rolled out in May of 2012. The program was supposed to take place at the parish level and consist of four phases over six months. That went well. I’m sure it made an especially huge difference at Our Lady of Calvary as parents were left uninformed about their pastor Father John Paul.
Not enough honesty, hindering healing and crushing hope.