The Vatican Runs The Clinton Playbook: Liner Notes

As of mid-morning, I have a new column posted at The Federalist, “The Vatican Is Using Bill Clinton’s Playbook To Defend Pope Francis,” which is pretty on-target as headlines go, though the defense is more broad than the current Pope.

What got left out for space? Perhaps a bit of leavening context about the fact that in prior church scandals, the conservatives were more likely to circle the wagons, underscoring the debate here is sadly more factional than would be ideal. Indeed, there’s even a bit of that in the Catholic League’s response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report, to the extent William Donahue still matters.

Also left out is the degree to which a “political” lens here is both narrower and broader than the story.  David French wrote about why Catholic scandals affect Protestants, but I’d suggest that it goes further, speaking to the large-and-small-P political problems that will arise if religious institutions begin to be viewed as corrupt (along the lines of my prior thoughts about social conservatives and the decline of institutional power).

I also might have mentioned that an institution based in Italy might be failing to fully grasp how this story is playing in America, if the response there to Weinsteingate is any indicator. Indeed, the reaction to Asia Argento’s allegations might have turned into an aside about the allegations now lodged against her don’t invalidate her original claims as part of noting the ecclesiastical whataboutism of the Church’s defenders. But word limits are what they are.

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