Catholic Bishops Have a New Lawyer

Anthony Picarello became general counsel for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops this past September, succeeding Mark Chopko who had been the bishops’ counsel since 1988. Picarello is a life-long Catholic who adheres to the same principles exhibited by Chopko in dealing with survivors of priest sexual abuse. He may even be more strident. Here is an excerpt from a November 5th Catholic News Service interview concerning how the Church is handling the priest abuse crisis:
“The church has a lot to be proud of in that respect,” Picarello said. But the media coverage “leaves people with the impression that the church is not adequately addressing these issues. … It’s as if the scandal is intensifying, and it’s not at all.”
Picarello thinks that new laws opening the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse is fundamentally unjust and especially unfair that these settlements are coming at a time when the church is “hitting its stride” in implementing procedures for the prevention of child sex abuse by priests.
Picarello has passed the public relations/spin control test for the USCCB but he surely has failed the smell test for the general public.