Wuerl is only one disgraceful prelate. To rehearse all the evasions, elisions, prevarications, and other species of stupidity in the various clergy letters and the multitude of crimes for which they are meant to cover would exhaust the space of a short column. It is simpler to make a handful of straightforward observations.

One is that as a class the American episcopate is made of the pompous, the contemptuous, the worldly, and the faithless. They are, with a few honorable and pious exceptions, worthless company men who have disgraced their office. If they are proven complicit in the cover-up of abuse — by, for example, deliberately attempting to conceal evidence until the statue of limitations for a given jurisdiction was reached — they should be laicized and handed over to the secular authorities to be punished. Others whose crimes are of the order of gross negligence or incompetence should resign and live out the remainder of their days in monasteries performing works of charity. They should be replaced by younger, abler men with clean consciences, sons of the dioceses over which they will govern rather than glad-handers from certain trendy Roman seminaries. All of them in the meantime should undergo lengthy and rigorous public penances for their sins and those of their brother priests. I do not mean selling their mansions or the faux humility of dressing themselves in black instead of purple or red; I mean wearing hair-shirts underneath their cassocks and dining on ashes every Friday night and even flagellating themselves in public.