(A) priest in the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, has been permanently suspended by Bishop Paul Loverde for testifying in a legal deposition about the immoral practices of his fellow diocesan clergy. In a formal notice to (the priest), given on October 28, 2002, Bishop Loverde stated that (the priest) was guilty of violating an order for him not to publicize priestly wrongdoing in order "to avoid scandal, to maintain ecclesiastical discipline and to protect the reputation and privacy of both the faithful and priests of this diocese." [As quoted in The Washington Times, November 13, 2002.]
I think you have to be about my age and older to know that in our culture that lasted up until about the Oprah Winfrey age, that people did not air their dirty laundry for all to see and hear. It was a kind of unwritten law. In fact law enforcement often aided this unwritten law by helping institutions avoid
scandal when police officers, teachers, priests, ministers,rabbis doctors and lawyers committed crimes both major and minor to include sexual crimes of whatever kind.
It was important to keep family problems secret as to avoid scandal. My father was very well schooled in this way of thinking. We as his children couldn't do anything that would bring shame to the family and if we did do something, it was not to be broadcasted but kept secret.
Bishops of the Catholic Church as well as lower clergy and the laity were very much schooled in this way of thinking. Most laity did not want to bring scandal to the Church when there were actual scandals of priests abusing minors or homosexual or heterosexual conduct.
It was the typical reaction of the three monkeys, "hear no evil, see no evil and tell no evil."
Confess it in Confession and keep it secret. You get forgiveness and no one but you and your confessor know.
It is hard for younger generations brought up on Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and the really horrible other talk shows most of which glorify bad behavior and make it into a reality show for entertainment to understand what our culture in and outside of the Church was like prior to the advent of these kind of tell all shows.
But that's the way it was and in some places still is.