The latest on the Catholic Church Childraping scandal is that the Pope didn’t do anything about the problems when he had the chance:
The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.
Matt Taibbi asks an interesting (and very Taibbi-esque) question:
What’s it going to take for them to get rid of this cat? Is it going to take catching him boarding an airplane with his cock in a six year-old Little Leaguer? Prognostications welcome: what would have to be the “last straw” for this Pope?
Is there anything that would force him to resign? Anything that would show he’s fallible? Or is that too much to ask of Catholics?
Richard Dawkins had his own memorable words about Ratzinger:
“Should the pope resign?” No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly — ideally — qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.
No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice –- the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution –- while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.
What I don’t get is why people are arguing that the media is treating the Catholic Church unfairly or that people are making too big a deal about this.
I remember reading this AP report that three children a day are inappropriately touched by public school teachers. And yet we don’t seem to see commensurate media coverage. Partly that’s because it’s more difficult to pin a “conspiracy” charge on the public school system. Partly that’s because we hold clergy to higher standards. I’m sure there are many other reasons.
The fact that other groups of people do these awful things doesn’t detract from the real heart of this issue — the Catholic Church has systematically tried to cover this mess up.
(Side note: Did anyone listen to This American Life last week? Here’s the main story’s summary:
Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk. He was a fixer. The Catholic church sent him to problem parishes where priests had been removed because of scandal. His job was to come in, keep events from going public and smooth things over until a permanent replacement priest was found. But after four different churches in four years, after covering up for pedophiles and adulterers and liars and embezzlers he decided to make a change.
It was really an incredible story. Go listen to it.)
I’m shocked that anyone would still want to be a part of this Church — sure, they may not support the way the Church is handling this issue, but they say they still love the culture and the tradition and the services. That’s the problem. They support the institution and don’t do enough to criticize them for their faults.