The Great Lisbon Earthquake

Today's the anniverary of the quake & tsunami that all but destroyed Lisbon in 1755. People and entities from George Will to Wikipedia have picked up on a comparison made in a WaPo article between the Lisbon disaster and the aftermath of other disasters --including the great San Francisco earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami and Katrina.
The article began by recounting an earthquake, followed by a tsunami, that devastated Lisbon, Portugal, on All Saints’ Day in 1755. Almost 90,000 people were killed, many while still at morning Mass for the Holy Day. What did the Church do in the aftermath to aid her children? Mr. Vargas writes that, “Following the devastation…priests roamed the streets, hanging those they believed had incurred God's wrath.”
Well. Thank heavens we live in more enlightened times, right? One problem. The story's not true --and therein hangs a tale of sloppy journalism, how quickly stories spread, and how eager people are to believe the worst about Catholics. Theresa Carpinelli tells it well in one, two, three, four parts.