- A popular (or even not so popular) figure in the Church is publicly criticized. Supporters have a knee-jerk reaction and circle the wagons. Meanwhile, documents exist that would allow supporters, critics, or any interested party to evaluate for themselves what the person in question has actually done.
(For instance: Archbishop Carlson claims that he is being quoted out of context when he states under oath that he doesn't remember if he knew that child molestation was a crime, and that he "offered his testimony as clearly and thoughtfully as possible". P. 108 and 109 here reveal the context. Those with patience can read the entire deposition and judge for themselves how forthright the archbishop is being. Likewise, there are source documents on the Bishop Finn scandal that make things quite clear in that case as well.)
- A difficult and complex theology is presented by a popular figure in the Church. Others come along and disseminate this theology, but are accused of completely misrepresenting it in the process. Meanwhile, everything's in writing, and any one with an internet connection can compare the original theology with the popularized one.
(Yes, John Paul's Wednesday Audiences are challenging to read. But you can start with my synopsis of them and see if anything in it bears the slightest resemblance to the pop-Catholic version that's being sold and celebrated these days. Or bypass me and go to the source.)
- A controversy arises over the simple meaning of the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The teaching in question is simple, short, easy to copy and paste - but even if read by its opponents, the opponents deny the very words before their eyes.
(This is done with lying, torture, social justice issues, sex issues, etc. etc.)
Never before in the history of man has research been so simple and easy. Never before has documentary evidence been accessible from your own living room in your own underwear. When a bold claim is made that is contradicted by the evidence, please look at the evidence and judge for yourself.
Indeed, when a scandal breaks, the lawyers confer, and the spin begins, the folks doing the spinning are counting on most people not simply reading the documents that reveal the truth of the matter.
So don't be a fool. Don't let the spin makers get away with it. The truth will set you free and the truth is a mouse click away.