By Phil Lawler
Critics of the Vatican (and concerned friends, for that matter) have reason to keep a close eye on the Dominican Republic in the coming weeks, as I explained yesterday. So it was alarming, at first, to hear that the bishops of that country altered a group photo, to make the former papal nuncio, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, disappear from the picture.
That’s right. The Dominican bishops released a photo from which Archbishop Wesolowski was missing, although he was there when the picture was originally taken. Was this a lame attempt to erase the archbishop from public memory, since he has been accused of sexual abuse?
Not so, according to the bishops’ conference of the Dominican Republic. The real explanation is more innocent—but to tell the truth, not much more reassuring.
Yes, it’s true that the image of Archbishop Wesolowski was cut out of the photo, and replaced with a picture of Bishop Francisco José Arnaiz, who had missed the original photo session because of illness. Grossly manipulative? Yes. But the bishops’ explanation is that…
They do it all the time! The actual photo is 5 years old, a spokesman told Dominican Today, and has been “updated” several times in the past. In other words, when one bishop dies or resigns or (in this case) is called back to Rome for investigation, his photo is cropped out, and his replacement’s photo is eventually pasted in. And the bishops aren’t embarrassed at all about using PhotoShop wizardry. “That will continue to be done until we can take a new picture with the presence of all the bishops.”
Dominican bishops Photoshop the Vatican’s shame away
09 February 2014 at 10:16 am
Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s Catholic bishops (CED) on Thursday admitted it modified their photo released to media January 21, which it affirms was taken around five years ago.
It said the photo was updated several times from various changes of the CDE during that period. “That will continue to do be done until we can take a new picture with the presence of all the bishops.”
The original photo had included former Vatican envoy Jozef Wesolowski, whisked out of the country by the Holy See once the scandal broke of his alleged sexual abuse of minors. His image was replaced with that of Santo Domingo auxiliary bishop Francisco José Arnáiz, who was hospitalized for treatment.
Media attention appears to have spurred the bishops’ statement, which doesn’t mention Wesolowski or Arnaiz. “It’s our custom to update, for purpose of a representative photo that belongs to this institution, whether to place the new bishops, omitting deceased or those who for whatever reason not longer belong to the institution.”