Bishop William Skylstad, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and head of the bankrupt Catholic diocese of Spokane Washington, continues to downplay the severity of the clergy abuse crisis. During a session of the bishops’ annual fall meeting in Washington DC this week, Skylstad remarked that a “handful” of abusive priests had caused the rest of the Catholic clergy “to endure an avalanche of negative public attention.” Who does he think he’s kidding? Estimates place the financial cost of this crisis to top $1billion in acknowledging more than 11,500 victims. Yet, in spite of the evidence Skylstad and the bishops continue to downplay and ignore the pain and trauma caused by the heinous acts of a “few” clergy members. The bishops’ failure to acknowledge the pain and alienation is not about one priest or one bishop. It’s about an institution that has been corrupted by years of secrecy, coverup and denial.