Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Escape Hatch for the Disgraced

Who gets to ride a white steed out of town and who has to slink away in the twilight?

Consider evangelicals caught with prostitutes -- heterosexual or homosexual -- or in other adultery. It's repent and resign almost every time. That's the post-Colonial equivalent of the pillory in the town square. Ted Haggard, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart were all out of there, slinkers everyone.

Closer to home though, it seems theocrats and Le Bon Dieu's bureaucrats get to saddle up and ride to safety. The latest appears to be Catholic Citizenship's Executive Director Larry Cirignano (shown right with Cardinal Sean O'Malley).

Word in the Worcester Telegram is that this one gets to ride off to to head a yet to be fleshed out Catholic Citizenship role in D.C. Apparently he's going to move his anti-gay/anti-marriage-equality act from the scene of his recent disgrace a little over two months ago.

Cirignano continues to stonewall. He is innocent, innocent he tells us of assault and battery on a young woman protesting his group's rally. He goes to court on February 20th to face the charge. However, he assures all that his move to Washington and away from the scene has nothing to do with the incident.

Uh huh. It's just coincidence that the board suddenly created a new spot far away from recent trouble.

Despite the parallels with Cardinal Bernard Law's exodus from Boston, I can't believe what Catholic friends tell me about this being the way of their church. I rather think it rests more on the political nature of their positions as opposed to the pulpit and TV camera public nature of televangelists who are the key money raisers for their groups.

Law (above in his rubious glory), of course, left in advance of any subpoenas or charges from the decades of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. While in charge when such disgraces as playing a Hide-The-Abuser game instead of safeguarding parishioners, he never faced indictment. It is quite likely that in a less R.C. state and city, the DAs and AG could have grabbed him many years before. Instead, he rode off to the Vatican for protection and honor. There he kept his Cardinal's cap and received a large number of titular and minor functionary roles.

Both cases look much more about politics than religion. In Cirignano's case, it seems more like a teen involved in an unwanted pregnancy or pot bust. Distance yourself physically and legally from the scene of the crime.

Cirignano predictably has also made another political move. He did a Dick Nixon by declaring victory in his anti-same-sex-marriage campaign after Bobby Travaglini handed him a New Year's present January 2nd.

It makes me wonder whether the anti-gay folk notice that progressives don't have anywhere near the number and level of disgraced leaders as their side. Probably not.

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1 comment:

John Hosty said...

The new group that Larry Cirignano is going to lead has not even been named yet, and I think that may have been done deliberately. My impression is that they are going to try to let his assault and battery charge get resolved before they name it, so that less negative attention will be put on this new group. That seems foolish considering Mr. Cirignano is not going to be able to lie his way out of facing the consequences of his actions, or the conviction that will follow his Feb. 20 court hearing.

What kind of group would be taken seriously when it's leader has this type of conviction? The answer is clear; with Larry Cirignano at the helm, purhaps they should name the group "Titanic".