Benedict not to blame

Should Pope Benedict XVI be thrown in jail for whatever role he might have played in covering up the pedophilia … Continued

Should Pope Benedict XVI be thrown in jail for whatever role he might have played in covering up the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church? I am not a lawyer, so I push the legal issues aside. But is not this a matter that cries to Heaven about simple justice? Since the violation of children was so heinous and the cover-up so systemic, should not the penalty be harsh?

I insist this scandal is the greatest example of corruption that Catholicism has faced since the Renaissance popes. I favor harsh penalties against corruption in high places, but I also feel punishment should be targeted upon the guilty. Pope Benedict should not be made a scapegoat for the sins of others. While he is not innocent of blame for having followed in the 1980s what was then the reigning modus operandi of the Church, he should get credit for reversing the policies of Pope John Paul II. Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, began the process of cleaning up the “filth of the Church” (his words). Moreover, he most recently has taken on the hierarchy who want to continue to hide priests and crimes from civil authority. It is at his (reissued) directives on “serious crimes” that the Church universal is now to act and turn over clergy and relevant records to civil authorities.

There are hierarchs deserving of punishment. Pope John Paul II is dead, so he cannot be held accountable for his role in the cover-ups. But Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos who previously headed up the Congregation on the Clergy needs to be taken to court. It was this Cardinal who congratulated a French bishop for shielding a priest (later found guilty of sexual abuse). “I congratulate you on not having spoken out to civil authorities against a priest,” he wrote. When confronted by the media, the Cardinal claimed that his letter of praise for the cover-up was authorized personally by Pope John Paul II. Moreover, this was not the only incident of Castrillon’s defense of pedophiles. It is noteworthy that even if civil authorities lacked jurisdiction in the case, concerned Catholics prevented the same Cardinal from presiding at a Mass at the National Shrine in Washington.

Some prelates acted in ways that constituted cover-ups. Many of them have accepted blame for errors and made public statements of apology. Others, like Cardinal Law, formerly of Boston and Archbishop Burke, formerly of St. Louis, have been “kicked upstairs” to the Vatican. No apologies come directly from them, and one wonders if such prelates might be liable for criminal action in the U.S. for obstruction of justice concerning the way they handled pedophilia cases.

To say Catholic laity is conflicted on this subject is to understate the dilemma. None of us wants the Church pilloried for mistakes that in large measure have been rectified at great cost in legal settlements and with almost draconian reforms to separate inferior clergy from the Church so that they can be prosecuted by government. On the other hand, as Pope Benedict has said, the Church must repent and do penance for this error that endured all too long.

I propose that bishops in Catholic America follow up the papal call to repentance with an organized effort in each of a diocese’s parishes. Just like the bishops use visual and audio media to ask for money or to promote vocations, it seems to me they should now address Catholic America about the positive steps that have been taken, and to elicit lay cooperation in reporting violations.

Most importantly, this kind of “Repentance Sunday” can be the chance to praise the 95% of good Catholic priests who have been unfairly stigmatized In addition to the apologies of the bishops, I think laity should be given the opportunity to speak publicly in praise of priests who have labored under these difficult burdens.

It is part of Catholic theology that none of us is without sin — including bishops and priests. But the glory of our faith is that we have a sacrament of reconciliation and the grace of God to rise up from our fall.

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • areyousaying

    Catholics have already blamed the victims, lawyers, the Devil, the “dark side of the force”,”enemies of the Church” the media, liberals and munchkins in precocious puberty who they claim really are adults at 13. I propose Bishops immediately cough up over a thousand pervert priests world wide for civil prosecution. Any thing else is just more tired old obstruction of justice, racketeering and “others-do-it-too” sniveling.

  • FarnazMansouri

    WILLIAM CARDINAL LEVADA, No. 2 Man in Rome, aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice, lying under oath.Extradite and bring him to trial.Cardinal Law. Extradite and bring him to trial. (Btw., how much did his mansion finally go for?)The pope’s transgressions did not end in the 1980s. His infamous 2001 memo directing bishops on how to proceed with pedophile priests has been introduced into evidence of obstruction of justice in United States courts.

  • morryb

    Blame the entire Church for the gross molestation of young minds by frightening children into believing in eternal damnation and in other stupid irrational claims. How long does human kind have to be cuffed by these spreaders of irrationality and myths?

  • usarownow

    Reading your comments today truly makes your agreement to “rules of commenting” a shameless insult.

  • Chaotician

    Give me a break! The Rottweiler in a hierarchy of tight control such as the Roman Catholic Church is not controlling every breath of his Bishops, Cardinals, and lowly Priests? Is not every action of the “Church” for 1500 years not been to protect the “Church” and it’s Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops? Is there any question at all that the Church Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope have routinely had sexual “congress” with boys, girls, nuns, men, women, goats, and other poor creatures? Is there in question that the business of religion, the selling of Jesus, the preying on the weak and the ignorant, the abuse and hypocrisy in the name of a God is the “Church’s” purpose and that the non Catholic “Christian” institutions have taken this business plan and expanded it’s scope and added modern marketing techniques to improve the efficiency of the fleecing of the bleating flocks?

  • vigor

    Tell me about Cardinal Law from Boston and how he got moved to Rome, after he was caught.

  • eyeswideopen2

    I am horrified that so many Catholics are rushing to defend this Pope when it’s glaringly clear to anyone willing to read the news carefully that he’s absolutely culpable on this. The Pope’s 2001 letter to bishops around the world ordered them to keep sexual abuse allegations secret under threat of excommunication – that is, absolute exclusion from the Church and any of the blessings it bestows (like, say, communion, forgiveness, extreme unction). Imagine the moral dilemma this posed for anyone in a position to know of such crimes!It’s not a zero-cost action to defend the Pope, it comes at a cost to all the victims and all those around them who underwent real suffering and spiritual anguish. Christians should be answering to their own consciences rather than circling wagons – it’s not a loyalty test.

  • vigor

    Tell me about Cardinal Law from Boston and how he got moved to Rome, after he was caught.

  • JohninCO

    “Some prelates acted in ways that constituted cover-ups. Many of them have accepted blame for errors and made public statements of apology. Others, like Cardinal Law, formerly of Boston and Archbishop Burke, formerly of St. Louis, have been “kicked upstairs” to the Vatican.”This is an outrageous slam against Archbishop Burke, formerly of St. Louis and now in a key Vatican juridical position. To my knowledge, unlike the situation with Cardinal Law, there’s not only been no proof of cover-up relating to Archbishop Burke, I’m not even aware of any allegations that he has covered up sexual abuse cases..!This cries out for correction Mr. Stevens-Arroyo!

  • doctorm

    After the Second World War at Nurmeburg, many German officers were tried and convicted of war crimes committed by men under their command, even if they did not order it or even know about it. This same justice should be applied to the Catholic Church, particularly given that its control over its “men” is much greater than any army has ever exerted.

  • francesewood1

    Earth to Mr. Stevens-Arroyo:1. The leader of one of the most powerful entities on the planet does not need an apologist — regardless of one’s faith commitments.

  • artatlarge

    So, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, you are nothing but an apologist for child molestation.

  • lufrank1

    Too disgusting for any reasonable comment!

  • jerkhoff

    So, Yeal9, your only defense of the Catholic Church’s shameful history of institutionally-tolerated child sexual abuse is that other organizations did it too? That’s really the best you can do?Pope Benedict is up to his eyeballs in the filth of this controversy. And I have one more question for you. If this pope is so committed to rooting out pedophiles and their protectors, why is Cardinal Bernard Law still occupying a position of honor and power in the Vatican?The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is rotten to the core. This is the one instance where I really hope that Hell exists, so that these monsters can pay for their crimes for all eternity…

  • peterroach

    Pope Benedict is culpable for his personal actions as well. As for jail, it seems that falls mainly on the priests who committed these acts. There could be some obstruction of justice issues for the bishops.

  • Cthulhu3

    The fact is, the Church should not harbor or protect pedophiles, nor should any other organization, public or private. Nor should families, where most of this heinous activity goes on and is covered up by spouses, parents, etc. Concurrent with this fact is that no organization, group, church, public or private school, family, etc. should be immune from lawsuits for covering up a pedophiles activities. There is a witch-hunt against the Church–that is clear–largely brought on by their dereliction of moral duty and leeching lawyers who will take questionable claims along with legitimate ones. That’s why the cases being discussed are 20, 30. 40 years old. Fan the flames, burn the churches!

  • oldguy2

    “Pope John Paul II is dead, so he cannot be held accountable for his role in the cover-ups.”Perhaps not. But it seems like a pretty good argument to put a stop to the effort to make him a saint.

  • rd3

    Now wait a minute here…First, the Pope suggests that there is no problem with child abuse in the Catholic Church, then admits, after it being revealed that he himself pardoned and relocated some of these miscreants, that there might indeed be a problem, but that we “sinners” apparently haven’t framed the accusations to his satisfaction.So much for papal infallibility. The Catholic Church has indeed fallen, as I predicted years ago, in my lifetime.Think I’ll go out and have a dinner of Eggs Benedict, or Sanctimonious Ingratis, as I’ll call it from now on, to celebrate.

  • murdock_822

    blame both of them all white people suck lol but u know what lm black and l can handle anything. even being a jerk when l have too!

  • djah

    Why does the Post publish this silly tripe?

  • shewholives

    “It is at his (reissued) directives on “serious crimes” that the Church universal is now to act and turn over clergy and relevant records to civil authorities.”

  • Billy1932

    Should not a few Cardinals also be included with the Bishops?

  • mbc7

    Its always amazing to see the hypocritical liberal bigots spew hate against a religious minority. To discuss the crisis, it is necessary to place the issues in context. Over the last 50 years, how many cases of abuse occured and how many were covered up by Catholic Bishops? Who else covered up abuse? Public school administrators, social workers, protestant leaders, jewish leaders? And in the US, this is all old news. Revisiting the issue seems only designed to attack Catholics. The hypocrites need to understand when-ever they attack Catholics, they udermine the support for mutli-culturalism. As for the few failed Catholic Bishops, they will meet their maker soon enough. The statute of limitations has expired in the US for virtually all the crimes, and thus we are just left with the thought that these man will carry their shame foreover.

  • linguine33

    “Who else covered up abuse? Public school administrators, social workers, protestant leaders, jewish leaders? And in the US, this is all old news. Revisiting the issue seems only designed to attack Catholics.”

  • Seahawk2

    Some acts are so egregious that simply saying you’re sorry is not enough. It appears the church hierarchy is sorry only when it is revealed to be the corrupt entity that it is, and has been, for centuries.

  • kingcranky

    Echoing what other readers have posted here, as long as Cardinal Law is given sanctuary by the Vatican, instead of being immediately turned over to US authorities to sort out his role in knowingly covering-up the activities of priests who preyed on minors, then the claims of both Pope Benedict and the Catholic church to address the damage caused by this systemic scandal are nothing more than easily-debunked hypocrisy of the most rank kind.

  • jypz-cerpher

    The problem with your rationalization is that for over 20 years while priests were RAPING children, he oversaw the Office of the Doctrine of the Faith whose primary mission was to keep private the cases not yet revealed publicly. How did he do this? The bishops documented the cases on report forms called Suspected Child Abuse Reports (SCARS) and submitted them to the Vatican to be secreted away by then Cardinal Ratzinger (sic). To ensure cases never became public, the Church convinced families that revealing the secret would doom their ENTIRE family to Hell for eternity if they spoke publicly. It seemed to be effective. Experts project that ONLY 20% of victims reported publicly by 2006. That means thast between 1950 and 2003 over 100,00 victims were raped by priests.You don’t have to worry though, a little known fact is that Cardinal Ratzinger (sic) was granted blanket immunity from criminal prosecution in the US by then President Bush in 2003.

  • pinecone

    I will back up those who have already called you on your most obvious error, Mr. Stevens-Arroyo. There is nothing to indicate that Archbishop Burke did anything wrong with sex abuse issues.When he was in La Crosse, he brought in a group of priests to celebrate the Latin Mass, much to the dissatisfaction of the diocesan priests. One of those priests who came in, Timothy Svea, was highly regarded by his parishioners and others, though disdained by diocesan priests because he refused to say the regular Mass. In 2002, it came to light that he had abused boys. When his order, the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, found out about it, they immediately informed then-Bishop Burke. Burke in turn stripped him of his priestly faculties and Svea was reported to the civil authorities, arrested, tried and jailed. Burke could have easily covered it up in order to save face in front of his diocesan priests, but he did not.As to being “kicked upstairs,” that’s bunk. Burke is considered one of the most prominent canon lawyers on the planet. He was put in his present position because Pope Benedict wanted to employ his canon law skills for the whole Church.

  • athelstane

    I am in agreement with you, Mr. Stevens-Arroyo: the blame for what has happened rests with numerous bishops who were the front-line enforcers and protectors, and who chose to enable, cover-up, or at the least negligently overlook these crimes. This is certainly true of former Frs. Kiesle and Murphy. But I am mystified by the reference to Archbishop Burke. I have not heard his name mentioned in any of the sex scandals. His move to head the Roman Rota was a major promotion, unlike that of Cardinal Law who was dumped off to run a Roman church (St. Mary Major).

  • Nemo5

    In terms of accepting responsibility for this tragedy, the focus has been upon Church hierarchy. However, holding only Church leaders accountable is short of the mark. The truth is, the entirety of the Church must accept responsibility, and in the Catholic faith, the “Church” is not simply the hierarchy or the “institution” of the Church, it’s the people – the congregants, the “faithful.”Christ said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” His “Church” consists of people who come together in His name.

  • usapdx

    The RCC administration is in sorry shape from top to bottom. To with hold the truth to protect the image, WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM DEALING WITH SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN? The RCC must have a NEW POPE and then VATICAN III. If they do not change, watch the RCs vote with their feet. How many have stoped lately from going? Once they start it, will be hard to turn them back. DID YOU READ USA TODAY OF APRIL 28,2010 FRONT PAGE ARTICAL ON YOUNG PEOPLE VIEW OF RELIGION? I rest my case.

  • SNAPnetwork

    For the real story on Burke’s track record on abuse, check this out please:

  • areyousaying

    Meanwhile,RIO DE JANEIRO (AP — A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil is facing charges he abused eight boys in cases dating back to 1995, prosecutors said Wednesday, adding to a growing list of allegations against clergy in Latin America.Father Jose Afonso, 74, is accused of abusing altar boys between the ages of 12 and 16, Sao Paulo state prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement.Prosecutors said the reported abuses occurred this year, in 2009 and in 2001 in the city of Franca, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Sao Paulo city. At least one case was reported in 1995 in the neighboring state of Minas Gerais.

  • areyousaying

    from the same story:”Pope Benedict XVI’s second-in-command …..said homosexuality and not celibacy was the primary reason for the abuse.”Blame the gays, blame the liberals, blame the victims, blame the lawyers, blame the media, blame the Devil, blame “enemies of the Church”, blame 11 year olds in precocious puberty, blame everyone and anyone other than themselves. Christ’s Church indeed.

  • Athena4

    Like Harry Truman said, “the buck stops here.” You wanna be the infallible leader of millions? You take the problems with the perks.

  • usapdx

    With all the sex abuse of children by religious and the truth cover up to protect the image which both are a violation of USA law, how many RCs have stop going to RCC? In USA TODAY newspaper of 4/28/10 front page artical was on young AMERICANS religious attitudes. The RCC administration MUST read it and then watch the voteing of the RC membership by their feet. Your econmic take will show it also. ben/16 is a smart man but a sneak. IT IS TIME FOR A NEW POPE AND THEN VATICAN III TO TURN THE RCC AROUND.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Benedict is certainly to blame in his capacity as head of the CDF. In two lawsuits against the Vatican, the plaintiffs have entered his infamous 2001 memo to bishops into evidence of obstruction of justice.Benedict, when he became Pope, chose as head of the CDF, William Cardinal Levada, an American, who bankrupted the Portland diocese protecting pedophile priests.Levada, then, moved on to San Francisco, where he shielded what was up until a few years ago, the largest pedophile priest ring in the US, known to law enforcement as “Levada’s boys.” Levada obstructed justice, lied under oath, walked in on a molestation scene, and shut the door.He tried to destroy the career of the one whistle-blower priest among the Salesians, which ultimately cost the diocese millions.A fitting successor to the Benedict as head of the CDF, Levada now oversees pedophile priest complaints worldwide. It is to him, as well, that disaffected Anglicans apply.Levada should be extradited and brought to trial.The focus on Benedict is misplaced and misguided. The whole rotten edifice of the Vatican must be brought down if it is every to have genuine moral authority.Currently, Vatican Bank is under investigation for laundering 200,000,000 mafia dollars. Vatican Bank is the eighth most popular destination for money-laundering, ahead of Sweden, Lichtenstein, and the Bahammas.Vatican Bank took deposits from 200 Nazi Franciscans who tortured thousands of Serbian ORthodox, JEws, and Roma to death and stole what they had. The Vatican refuses to settle with surviving victims and their heirs. These Franciscan nazi priests, whose names I’ve posted on this blog, btw., cut living people to pieces with scissors and watched them bleed to death. They impaled people in water and watched them drown.The slaughter of five hundred Serbian Orthodox by Croat Catholics never so much as received a comment by the Vatican. The Serbians, however, remember.The Vatican has yet (2010) to release its Holocaust era archives, due to filing difficulties. They have been “filing” since 1945.The Vatican is guilty of numerous crimes against humanity. Focusing on this pope is a tragic mistake. He is not the Son of God, cannot die for the sins of the Vatican.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Mr. Stevens-Arroyo,I will not trouble myself digging up your own anti-semitic postings. Let the deformed Catholic blogger CCNL/Yeal9 speak for the Vatican, he who condones the mass murders conducted by 200 Franciscan card-carrying Nazi priests, who tortured with a blood-thirstiness that made them an embarrassment to German Nazis.He who condones the Vatican’s money-laundering of 200,000,000 mafia dollars. This would be the mafia money used to fund child prostitution rings, gun running, drug running, and endless murder.Perhaps you know the case of the journalist Porschoni, whose accounts lead to the indictments and imprisonments of 100 mafiosi. Porschoni knew his days were numbered. He refused to allow his family to drive on the highway near his home since it was readily predictable that the mafia would strike there.They BLEW UP the HIGHWAY, Mr. Arroyo. This is what your Vatican supports. And your CCNL/Yeal9.

  • YEAL9

    From Rabbi Brad Hirschfield: “When Priests And Rabbis Commit Sexual Abuse”Mar 29, 2010 ……www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi…/when-priests-and-rabbis-c_b_516386.html “The words used by Pope Benedict and others in responding to the Church’s ever-deepening sexual abuse crises reflect a sickness that is not unique to the Catholic community. In fact, that sickness creeps into all religious communities (and parenthood) of which I know, and leaves a trail of victims in its wake every time. I refer to the way in which religious leaders and the communities which they lead wear the mantle of victimhood to cover their naked moral failings.”

  • FarnazMansouri

    Mr. Stevens-Arroyo,I will not trouble myself digging up your own anti-semitic postings.Let the deformed Catholic blogger CCNL/Yeal9 speak for the Vatican, he who condones the mass murders conducted by 200 Franciscan card-carrying Nazi priests, who tortured with a blood-thirstiness that made them an embarrassment to German Nazis.He who condones the Vatican’s money-laundering of 200,000,000 mafia dollars. This would be the mafia money used to fund child prostitution rings, gun running, drug running, and endless murder.Perhaps you know the case of the journalist Porschoni, whose accounts lead to the indictments and imprisonments of 100 mafiosi. Porschoni knew his days were numbered. He refused to allow his family to drive on the highway near his home since it was readily predictable that the mafia would strike there.They BLEW UP the HIGHWAY, Mr. Arroyo. This is what your Vatican supports. And your CCNL/Yeal9.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Brazil arrests ‘pedophile’ priestA Roman Catholic priest has been arrested in Brazil after a video captured on a hidden camera depicted him as sexually abusing a choir boy.Two other clerics also face similar charges as three former choir boys say they have been abused by them.”I want to tell you, your honor, only one word: I’m not a pedophile,” 84-year-old cleric Luiz Marques Barbosa told a court hearing, according to Reuters.The footage, which was broadcast on a Brazilian TV network and is now available for sale in streets, shows Barbosa engaged in sexual misconduct in front of a church altar.The Brazilian parliament has launched an inquiry into the scandal.Barbosa, who is in charge of the parish in the northeastern town of Arapiraca, was arrested this week and is currently under house detention, with his passport confiscated, pending the outcome of the investigation, AFP said on Thursday.The pedophile priest scandal is damaging the Catholic Church’s reputation worldwide and in South America in particular, as the continent is home to over half of the world’s Catholics.Priests there are now struggling to defend the Church’s image.

  • FarnazMansouri

    DAVID WATERS,Please understand. Neither I nor the other bloggers can spend endless time re-informing you that Yeal9 is CCNL and should be blocked. You surely did not block CCNL only to have him log on again as Yeal9.Please.

  • FarnazMansouri

    I don’t think there is anything inherent in Catholic doctrine that invites pedophiles although, at present, the matter of celibacy is under discussion in this regard.There are pedophile among teachers, ministers, imams, rabbis, Hindu priests. That there are fewer Jews among them is, I would think, results simply from the fact that their are fewer Jews in the world.What distinguishes the Catholic Church is its hierarchic medieval Vatican, which places the physical fact of its existence far, far above the ethical behavior of its priests, its congregants, and the rest of the world. This pattern extends well beyond the current issue of pedophile priests. It is the structure that enforced the concealment of the problem, along with the relocation of these pedophiles so that they could continue to torture. It is the structure that was able, until only a few years ago, to enlist the cooperation of police, prosecutors, and judges world wide.I don’t think we can go back in time and haul out those police, those prosecutors, those judges, those legislators who assisted the Vatican in its crimes against humanity, not in the matter under discussion, at all events.What we can do is make certain that laws are passed insuring that complaints of pedophilia are directed to the police, these laws to entail significant penalties should they be violated. We can assure that these cases are vigorously prosecuted.WE can demand the extradition from Rome of William Cardinal Levada, et al. WE can step up the pace of the case against Roger Mahony, etc. We can grant citizens the right to sue the Vatican. This will ultimately go to the Supreme Court since three such cases, two initiated by victims of pedophile priests, are currently underway.Those problems within the Church that effect Americans become American legal problems. Probably, the first order of business here is to follow the Europeans in disentangling the multiple priveleges the Church enjoys at the expense of many of us.Legally, no entity can simultaneously enjoy the benefits of (a) Foreign Nation, (b) tax exempt religion, (c) unregistered foreign lobbyist.Once an agreement is reached on which of the three roles the Vatican will play in America, we can move forward to other matters. In the interim, the priority arresting pedophiles and bringing them to trial.This is a priority, of course, not only for Catholics, and not only with respect to Catholic priests.

  • YEAL9

    “The tax-exempt The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has a professional lobbying staff of approximately 528 in 28 offices nationwide, of those , two staff members based in Washington DC devoted 75% of their time, and the other devoted approximately 50% engaged in advocacy on (Congressional) legislative proposals related to federal hate crime laws, global anti-terrorism, the Middle East Peace Process, immigration issues, the use of government money to fund faith-based organizations and counter-terrorism proposals outside Washington, DC.”The total revenue for the ADL in 2008 was $59,960,134 mostly coming from contributions and grants.The largest of the lobbyists:(note the large sums of money being spent by health “profiteers” on lobbying )Lobbying Client Total 1998-2009 US Chamber of Commerce $606,758,180 Would the move to end tax exemptions for any group generate the added taxes/contributions needed to pay for universal health care?? The money spent by the health-”profiteers” on lobbying should be spent on health insurance for those who cannot presently afford it.

  • FarnazMansouri

    I don’t think there is anything inherent in Catholic doctrine that invites pedophiles although, at present, the matter of celibacy is under discussion in this regard.There are pedophile among teachers, ministers, imams, rabbis, Hindu priests. That there are fewer Jews among them results, I would think, simply from the fact that their are fewer Jews in the world.What distinguishes the Catholic Church is its hierarchic medieval Vatican, which places the physical fact of its existence far, far above the ethical behavior of its priests, the welfare of its congregants, and the rest of the world. The consequences of this bizarre misprioritizing extend well beyond the harm done by pedophile priests.However, it is the importance accorded the Vatican that motivated the concealment of the problem, along with the relocation of these pedophiles so that they could continue to torture children. It is these Vatican priorities that, until only a few years ago, police, prosecutors, and judges bowed down worldwide.I don’t think we can go back in time and haul out those police, those prosecutors, those judges, those legislators who assisted the Vatican in its crimes against humanity, not in the matter under discussion, at all events.What we can do is make certain that laws are passed insuring that complaints of pedophilia are directed to the police, these laws to entail significant penalties should they be violated. We can assure that pedophile cases are vigorously prosecuted.WE can demand the extradition from Rome of William Cardinal Levada, et al. WE can step up the pace of the case against Roger Mahony, etc. We can grant citizens the right to sue the Vatican. This matter will ultimately go to the Supreme Court since three such cases, two initiated by victims of pedophile priests, are currently underway.Those problems within the Church that effect Americans become American legal problems. Probably, the second order of business here is to follow the Europeans in disentangling the multiple privileges the Church enjoys at the expense of many of us.Legally, no entity can simultaneously enjoy the benefits of (a) Foreign Nation, (b) tax exempt religion, (c) unregistered foreign lobbyist.Once an agreement is reached on which of the three roles the Vatican will play in America, we can move forward to other matters. In the interim, the priority arresting pedophiles and bringing them to trial.This is a priority, of course, not only for Catholics, and not only with respect to Catholic priests.

  • bruce18

    Matthew 7:1-2This is not a prohibition against recognizing the faults of others, but against passing judgment in a spirit of arrogance, forgetful of one’s own faults.A little forgiveness might go a long way.

  • YEAL9

    But did JC utter Matt 7:1-2??No he did not according to many contemporary historic Jesus exegetes.e.g.

  • garoth

    Although the pope cannot be blamed personally (hopefully!) for what has happened, as head of the church and its “spokesman,” it is up to him to lead the way. Itis not enough to simply talk about “errors” that have been made, or of “regrets.” He needs to speak to the victims on behalf of the church, offering the church’s repentance for its sins, both of commission and omission and, as part of its repentance (“going a new way”), do all in its power both to set right the wrong, as far as possible, and put in place policies that will help ensure that it does not happen again. These, so far, it has failed to do. “Regret” is not the same as acknowledging culpability and responsibility; protecting the guilty, blaming it on homosexual priests, and condemning those who call for justice is not “setting right the wrong;” telling bishops that they MAY now have pedophiles prosecuted, is not “setting policies that will help ensure it does not happen again.” Until these are done, the pope’s words are meaningless, and he bears responsibility for what has – and may be continuing to happen – in the church.

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God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.