The Filthy Character Assassination of Bishop Kicanas

by Michael Sean Winters

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Yesterday, the National Catholic Register ran a post repeating charges that Bishop Kicanas of Tuscon, expected to be elected the head of the USCCB next week, looked the other way while rector of the seminary at Mundelein, approving for ordination a man who went on to be a sexual abuser of children.

Today, the Register has published Kicanas' replied to a series of questions they posed. Bishop Kicanas's answers demonstrate clearly that the original charges were baseless. But, they also demonstrate something else. Why did the Register reporter, Mr. Tim Drake, not wait until he had heard from the bishop before making such strong charges? Since when is it okay to run with an article without bothering to get the reply from the person who is at the center of that article? If Kicanas had declined to comment, that would be one thing. He did not so decline.

This is character assassination, pure and simple. Right-wing outfits do not like Kicanas who - heaven forfend - is a "Bernardin bishop." So, if you have to rely on bad reporting, not check with the subject of the attack, and make no apparent effort to independently verify the charges, so be it. This from an outfit run by the Legionairies of Christ. It would be farcical if it were not so repugnant.

The objective clearly was never to ascertain the truth of the charges. The objective was to bloody Bishop Kicanas. Alas, Mr. Drake has bloodied only himself and his newspaper.

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