Satan has many titles and one is the Prince of Darkness or you might say the prince of obfuscation; because Satan likes to darken and to confuse; to throw shadows over things or to make things seem different than they are. He distorts truth and tries to make us see things his way. You can see him at work in the world. Christians are called the children of light: the light of Christ. But that doesn't mean we can't be deceived by darkness. And of course as Christians, we should not be obfuscating at all. So when you see deliberate acts of obfuscation you can usually tell that the values of Christ are not at work, but more likely the values of Satan.
This was more or less the extent of my thoughts on obfuscation and Satan, prince of Darkness. But then I came across what seem to be examples of obfuscation: the deliberate darkening or confusing of issues. And these came from within the Church.
First an item about Cardinal Egan, former Archbishop of New York, and allegations that he was less than open during investigations into an abuse scandal in his previous diocese. Then I read an article in the Catholic Herald in which the writer, a priest, tried to explain how the Irish clergy could be less than open without telling lies by using a concept called mental reservation. This means that if you hold back bits of the truth i.e. reserve them to yourself, you are not guilty of lying. Apparently this is acceptable. the writer quotes the example of a parish priest asking a curate to say he isn't in when a troublesome visitor calls. By saying "He isn't in" and reserving to himself the words "to you" the curate is not technically lying. Mind you the example is light years away from the Irish clergy matter. Clever though, eh? So a lie isn't a lie if you don't tell the truth, or the whole truth. Sounds promising.
But to a non clerically trained person like me, not gifted in the subtleties of moral philosophy or whatever it is, a lie is a lie. Now, I lie like the rest of you; but I know when I am lying and, if there is such a thing, it's usually an honest lie. The idea of " mental reservation" seems to me awfully like the philosophical nitpicking that Jesus abhorred in the Pharisees, those "whited sepulchures". Not that I would want to apply the image of outwardly pristine but inwardly rotten to the events in Ireland. Never(post-modern irony).
Back to where we started. They obfuscated and , it seems, there has been much obfuscation in parts of the Church where such scandals have taken place. Is there a place in the Church for obfuscation, for casting shadows or shading the light? Is it the Lord of Light we serve or the prince of obfuscation?