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Bishop Michael BransfieldDWCVocations / Youtube screen grab

July 26, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — In our CWN news coverage of the Vatican's disciplinary action against Bishop Bransfield, we called attention to the fact that the announcement was made late on a Friday afternoon in July. If you've ever devoted any time at all to the study of public relations, you recognize the significance of that timing. If you're obliged to release a story, but you'd really rather bury it, the best possible time for the announcement is usually a Friday afternoon in the summer, when millions of people are already headed for the beach and won't be paying much attention to the news for the next few days.

So it's reasonable to conclude that the Vatican, and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and Archbishop Lori of Baltimore (who's in charge of cleaning up the Bransfield mess) don't want much publicity for this story. My question is: Why not?

It's sad that a bishop misbehaved, but that misbehavior had already been splashed across the headlines. The story today is that he has been punished. Don't Church leaders want to restore public confidence? Don't they want to convince us that the corruption is being rooted out? In the secular world it's unfortunate when a crime is committed, but capable prosecutors know enough to call a press conference when they make an indictment or secure a commitment. That sort of publicity helps to secure public confidence. Why wouldn't a prosecutor want as much publicity as he could gain from a conviction?

Unless, on his list of priorities, restoring public confidence still didn't rank as high as minimizing embarrassment for the perpetrator.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.


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