William Lobdell was already a serious Christian when the LA Times assigned him to the religion beat. But eight years of reporting on the church shook his beliefs.
At the time, I never imagined Catholic leaders would engage in a widespread practice that protected alleged child molesters and belittled the victims. I latched onto the explanation that was least damaging to my belief in the Catholic Church – that this was an isolated case of a morally corrupt administration.
And I was comforted by the advice of a Catholic friend: “Keep your eyes on the person nailed to the cross, not the priests behind the altar.”