The other day I read an opinion piece in our local paper about the church's sexual abuse scandals. The gist of the article was that there is an unfair, anti-catholic media frenzy that is especially unjust with the pope. Wow! Oh yes, such compassion and understanding from Ratzinger! Always ahead of the curve. Some of us have suspicions that the church hierarchy is heavily weighted with out of touch, clueless hypocrites. Today brings more evidence: the NY Times reports that in 1985 Ratzinger resisted defrocking a convicted child molester. Not only that, the reasoning is strictly self-interested: the priest in question, Stephen Biesle (described years later by a lawyer as an "evil, remorseless sociopath") was only 37 years old. You know, not even the perverts were exactly knocking down the walls to become catholic priests. Keep that collar on! Imagine, decades to come of molestation and abuse! But not even the local bishop who was trying to get him defrocked turns out to be a model of compassion: the letters reveal that it's all about avoiding scandal. Every move is calculated according to how the church will be perceived. The victims? They'll get over it. Hypocrisy from the church hierarchy is amazingly transparent. We're not dealing with rocket scientists here. Recently Vatican officials have been whining about how local bishops are the ones in charge and the holier than thou spirits in Rome can't be held accountable for the actions of a few rogue elements out there. It's a big world, blah, blah, blah... Well, the Inquisitor General's letter gives the lie to that nonsense: when the Vatican wants to control, it controls. After all, it's a "universal church". (And certainly Ratzinger had no difficulty with central authority when it came to those wayward liberation theologists. Worrying about the poor, and social justice. The nerve of those guys!)
One of the last times I was at a catholic mass, several years ago, I was on the verge of interrupting the sermon, but held my tongue for not wanting to embarrass the girls. I regret it. It was during the Boston priest scandal and the local priest was acting all indignant, how terrible it was that a priest could do that. Of course, he couldn't imagine any wrong doing in our diocesis, but that if anyone had any knowledge of any bad behavior or had, God forbid, themselves ever been a victim, to come talk to him and he'd take care of it. No!!!! I was about to scream, No, no, no!!! You go right to the police. Better still, call the dog catcher!