Though the grand jury notes that significant improvements have been made since 2002, I don’t understand how anybody can trust the institutional Church to police itself. In the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, Bishop James Conley took Father Charles Townsend out of St. Peter’s parish last year, telling people Townsend left for “health reasons” — sound familiar? — and then returned him without telling people the real reason for his forced departure. The only reason it came to light at all, and Townsend was removed, was because of readers of this blog.

So when can the bishops really be trusted?

The rot goes so deep, and goes back so long. If there were similar investigative grand juries empaneled in every state, what would they find? Do we really believe that Pennsylvania is an island of corruption unto itself?