Lisa Lavadores | Covington: Lambs to the Slaughter

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In mid-January, major news and prominent personalities got caught red-handed defaming innocent teenagers from Covington Catholic High School. It did not take long before lawyers published a list of 50-plus entities who could expect to be sued. 

Initially, the first lawsuit ($250 million against The Washington Post) was dismissed, but as of Oct. 28, the suit was partially reinstated and discovery is about to begin.

Discovery means pulling aside the curtain of the Wizard of Oz and seeing what has really been going on behind the scenes. There are now 50-plus entities who have reason to be sweating bullets, including the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky.

Here’s a recap for those who have forgotten the event:

The boys were waiting for a bus after the under-reported March for Life when they endured verbal abuse and physical intimidation by two different bands of adults. 

Getting the most coverage was a Native American group that allowed Nathan Phillips to continue as its representative even after he was caught in a lie just about every time he opened his mouth.

The fourth estate galloped with the story despite the fact that its reporters had not bothered to 1) interview even just one person from the Covington group; 2) fact check Mr. Phillips’ claims; 3) review the ever-growing amount of video footage, which was easily available on YouTube.

Days after the exonerating footage came out, commentators continued to hold conversations about the evils of being born with the wrong kind of smile then daring to wear the wrong kind of hat. The Orwellian outrage over the smile-plus-hat crime (not hate, but hat crime) was even stoked by Father James Martin, author of the ironically titled book “Building A Bridge.” 

While Fr. Martin has yet to explain why he does not want to build a bridge to pro-life Catholic teenagers whose hats he dislikes, his statements are ultimately meaningless because he has no authority over Catholics in the diocese of Covington, Kentucky. That is a fact for which every Catholic in Covington should be extremely grateful.

But there is one person whose very vocation is to be the Catholic shepherd for Covington — a person who has been especially called to protect his lambs from the wolves. That person is Bishop Roger Joseph Foys.

Here is the timeline of Bishop Foys’ shepherding:

The harassment of the boys occurred on Friday, Jan. 18. By the next day, the media persecution of the teens was in full swing. 

The only piece of hard evidence presented was a short clip of a teenager smiling while an adult banged a drum in his face. 

Without the commentary of Nathan Phillips, the clip could have been viewed as an inspiring moment of unity between two different groups. It also could have been viewed as a faithful Catholic kid imitating Christ in the face of aggression.

But within 24 hours, Bishop Foys sacrificed his smiling lambs to the cultural wolves with an official diocesan statement: “We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students.” 

Bishop Foys condemned his lambs for the actions of waiting for a bus and smiling while an adult stranger banged a drum at them.

By Sunday, anyone who was following the story and owned a computer knew that the narrative was a textbook example of fake news. 

Also by that time, Catholics at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., knew that, on Saturday, Nathan Phillips had attempted to lead a group of chanting and drum-banging protesters into the basilica during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is unreported if authorities at the basilica informed Bishop Foys that maybe Nathan Phillips did not respect sacred spaces all that much. Also no word on why it took officials at the basilica until Wednesday to confirm the Saturday disruption.

But by Tuesday, reports of events at the basilica were in the news. That is the day Bishop Foys (like Pilate) washed his hands of the matter with another diocesan statement proclaiming plans for an “independent, third-party investigation.”

Thanks be to God, on Jan. 25 (a full week after the media massacre), Bishop Foys apologized to his lambs, including a special apology to Nick Sandmann, who bore the brunt of the social media bloodthirst. But in his apology, Bishop Foys made a curious statement: “We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it.”

Bullied. And. Pressured. 

Bishop Foys is the victim of bullying and pressure. 

The Catholic shepherd for Covington, Kentucky, has still not revealed who bullied and pressured him nor if he continues to give those bullies his ear — but the curtain might soon be pulled back.

Lisa Lavadores lives in Val Verde.

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