The parallels are striking, right down to the legacies.
First, a couple of differences: American Bishops are not elected, and they are not really in the business of law enforcement, although it is a part of their duties.
That's about all for the differences...other than irrelevant stuff.
McCann, like many Bishops, had a lifetime job; he was never challenged seriously by anyone. He was an old-school liberal, like most of the Bishops, believing that a pointed session in his office would be sufficient treatment for most lawbreakers.
McCann also had a "favored group" or two, and among them were his close collaborators, the police. Similarly, Bishops had their priests.
Some Bishops simply would not understand that a few of their priests were bad guys--REALLY bad guys. They lectured them and sent them off for "treatment," but then put them back into parishes as long as they promised to be good boys. The promises were not kept.
Mike McCann simply did not understand that a few of the cops were bad guys--REALLY bad guys. He put up coroner's inquests (the pointed session in his office), but allowed them to remain on the street (unpunishable by virtue of union contracts) as long as they promised to be good boys.
It's said that some abused Catholics committed suicide as a result of the abuse. It's clear that there are a few Milwaukee residents who are dead as a result of questionable decisions made by police officers.
In the end, it became a "culture of enablement" in both places--until outside agents forced the Church to pay attention.
Maybe the culture will be changed when McCann leaves office--and maybe not. One certainly hopes that the City of Milwaukee will not have to endure what Milwaukee's Church had to endure as the Old Boys' Club broke down.
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