If the bishops want to step up and take responsibility for what they do, why did they adopt their new guidelines by secret ballot?
So far as I can tell, they’re still mostly intested in damage control. That would explain why they chose to be addressed by two liberals and some victims—people they knew wouldn’t raise fundamentals about their dereliction of duty but only issues of a kind they’ve devoted their lives to buying off—insufficient modernization and the like—and particular disciplinary matters.
Mahony’s Cronies has some interesting background on several notorious cases in California. It’s hard to avoid the impression that in the current scandals ordinary cronyism is made worse by connections that are not at all innocent, and by blackmail.