Anti-Catholic bias and irresponsible reporting

Q:Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe? Should he be … Continued

Q:Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe? Should he be investigated for cases of abuse that occurred under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer? Should the pope resign?

The question of whether Pope Benedict XVI should resign is, frankly, silly, because it assumes guilt where none has been proven or even credibly asserted. The New York Times story about then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s alleged prevention of sanctions against a horrible Milwaukee abuser has been exploded by the legal documents the Times itself posted on its Web site. The charge that Ratzinger, when archbishop of Munich, knowingly reassigned a dangerous predator to pastoral ministry has been flatly denied by both the archdiocese and the Vatican. Anyone who knows the elementary facts of the history of the Holy See’s handling of these cases over the last decade knows that Ratzinger was at the forefront of efforts to bring abusers to book, swiftly and decisively, and his recent letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland demonstrates beyond cavil that he is determined to continue those efforts, wherever they lead.

Some things have been proven over the past few weeks, however. Elementary journalistic standards have been put on hold, in order to try and paint the Pope as a protector of abusers and the Church as an international criminal conspiracy of abusers and their abetters. Vicious anti-Catholicism is, evidently, permissible in cartoons on the nation’s editorial pages. And contingent-fee lawyers with direct financial stakes in the outcome of U.S. abuse cases and in bringing the Vatican within the reach of American liability lawyer are, astonishingly, considered appropriate sources. In light of these revelations, perhaps some people should indeed resign; but that motley crew does not include Benedict XVI.

In my 2002 book, “The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church”, I publicly thanked the press for its exposure of facts that the Catholic Church ought to have faced itself, long before. But that was then and this is now, and the reporting and commentary now have been deeply biased and in many cases irresponsible. The Catholic Church in America today is likely the country’s safest environment for children. When will that empirically demonstrable fact find its way into this and other newspapers? Joseph Ratzinger has been more involved than any other senior churchman in confronting what he once called the “filth” in the Church; when might that fact, which any reporter with an open mind would be compelled to recognize by looking at the recent historical record, begin to frame some of the coverage of the Pope and the Church?

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  • GMartin-Royle

    You are quite correct, ratboy shouldn’t resign. He should be arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice. The vatican and the rcc should be treated the same as any other organisation, they should be investigated, forced to hand over any documents and most emphatically not be granted diplomatic immunity.How typical of catholic supporters this is, to try to turn the argument around and make their vile, disgusting, immoral and corrupt organisation the victim. Never mind the poor bastards raped and ruined by employees of this criminal outfit, the only thing that matters is the reputation of the church!

  • daniel12

    “The question of whether Pope Benedict XVI should resign is, frankly, silly, because it assumes guilt where none has been proven or even credibly asserted.”The question of whether Pope Benedict should be Pope is, frankly, silly, because it assumes he is mouthpiece of God, and of course, Christ, where nothing has been proven or even credibly asserted. It has to be one of the more repellent religious strategies that the words of science are applied to the defense of dogmatism such as Roman Catholicism when religion of course is not science but faith.

  • barferio

    “(T)he fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one …no one CARES what your church calls a criminal trial. No one TRUSTS what your stinking church says about this. The more you defend it, the more you nitpick about the small details in order to prevent the larger picture from being perceived, the more your church is hurting itself.Anybody who had anything to do with this sordid atrocity is an accessory after the fact. Saving your church is more important than prosecuting pedophiles, more important than protecting the children … you disgust me in ways I haven’t the words to describe.

  • YEAL9

    “This is no different than when leading members of the Jewish community have attempted to silence those who were sexually abused by rabbis. The arguments in defense of such behavior are the same as those made by many in the church, including, it now seems, by the Pope. “It’s not as bad as they say”, “the charges are motivated by anti-Semitism/anti-Catholicism”, “we can handle this ourselves”, and “if we don’t keep it in the community, we will all undermine our community/church.” It doesn’t matter where those arguments are made, they are all grotesque. Faithfulness is not proved with silence, raising a voice of moral conscience is not betrayal, admitting horrific abuses is not defeat, and public accountability is not gossip. Frankly, any religious community which doesn’t know these things is neither genuinely religious or truly a community.The “rock upon which the Church is built” could crumble if the Vatican doesn’t figure that out soon, and so will those Jewish institutions which fall prey to the same ugly institutional protectionism which abets protecting abusive rabbis instead of their young victims.”

  • barferio

    Plenty of anti-catholic bias around, plenty of irresponsible reporting around … but this does not change the facts, George. It is a standard political tactic, the diversion. Because lots of jerks are picking on you, then the facts people are stating when they pick on you are not true.Not going to work Georgy boy. You might want to look for some more honest work in the near future, really – how can you stand yourself defending child molesters?Your boy ran an agency within his organization that if not directly responsible for the hiding of priest molesters in the name of protecting said organization was directly responsible for the group-think which permitted it.I have to agree with Richard Dawkins here. Let this pope continue to be the flashpoint of this argument. Every second of every day he remains in office even the catholic membership will wonder what is going on with these perverts in the church.

  • Athena4

    This has been going on for years, if not centuries. Fr. Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was accused of molestation by several boys in the 1970’s. There are even some questions about San Juan Bosco of the Salesian Society back in the 1800’s and his close personal friendship with several boys in his charge.Heck, even when I was growing up Catholic in the 1970’s, we had a joke about getting 15 priests into a VW bug by throwing in an altar boy. It was pretty common knowledge even then that there was something fishy going on.

  • cinauen

    It never ceases to amaze me that seemingly intelligent and upright people use their energy to defend this pope and the ‘holy see’.This pope has presided for more than 20 years over an agency who has aided and abetted with the hiding, hushing and covering up the vilest of crimes. If he REALLY didn’t know anything about it and is thus completely without blame, one wonders if he was up to his job then? And is he up to his job now?

  • amelia45

    You are full of it, Weigel. Many of those who are angry right now are Catholic. This is not some “they” out there. It is also the “us” of the Church who do not believe that the Holy Father has forthrightly faced the problems of pedophilia in the Church and has not dealt forthrightly with those who protected abusers and continued the danger to young children.Reporting has not been biased – it has just been clear. That the Church is embarrassed is understandable. You would think after the damage to the Church when the truth came out in the US that the Church would have learned a lesson about cleaning up the mess. But, evidently not. Now you want to call it biased reporting when the evidence of pedophile priests abusing children in Ireland, Germany, and Italy causes reporters here to dig deeper and report more fully on what happened here. Where next?

  • areyousaying

    “Elementary journalistic standards have been put on hold, in order to try and paint the Pope as a protector of abusers and the Church as an international criminal conspiracy of abusers and their abetters.”Are you saying the Pope is not a protector of “Father” Nicholas Aguilar who has not been “defrocked” and is still practicing under Cardinal Rivera in Mexico after Rivera passed him to LA Cardinal Mahony for “health and family reasons” where he was one of the few to be actually convicted of his crimes? Why hasn’t the Pope told Rivera to cough up Aguilar (or at least defrock him) and why did Rivera claim international immunity as a Mexican citizen when the victims tried to bring Mahony and Rivera to justice?It is the likes of this lame apologist Weigel who have put “elementary journalistic standards ….on hold,” in order to try and paint the Pope as a protector of and the Church as an international healer of its victims.From first hand experience of being on the receiving end of a catholic priest’s “love of Christ, I can tell you a common denominator of child abuse victims is believing it is somehow their fault. This is especially true of catholic children who are taught that they are perpetually guilty and responsible for anything and everything that goes on. The church’s idea of “healing” these victims is to prey on these children fears, shame, feelings and emotions by further intimidating them to silence as in Ireland and demonizing them like Catholic League President William Donohue who calls them “gold diggers” I was not a little-boy-sex worker the obscenely rich church could pay for my services. I was just a lonely protestant kid (not by choice either) in Mormon Utah who looked for some friends after being invited to CYO. Donohue’s comments reveal his true concern for the church’s coffers and not the little children he and his church pretends to protect.The catholic church and its apologist propaganda machine care more about covering their own rear ends and the church’s holy image than they do about their and others’ little children. Weigel is nothing more than another cheap propagandists for a church that has proven to be involved criminal obstruction of justice in aiding and abetting its criminals. Ratzinger has been revealed as complicit.Catholics like Weigel will never police themselves. It’s time we modify statute of limitations advantages for this church, its perpretrators and its accomplices and elect DA’s who are not intimidated by the local Bishop. A vote for a Catholic politician is a vote for the continuation of this in America, Weigel’s sniveling apologies aside.

  • areyousaying

    Are you really saying, with a straight face, “the Catholic Church in America today is likely the country’s safest environment for children”I wonder how many now would let a kid, nephew or grandson even walk up the steps to one less alone trust them alone with one of your priests who cherish a time honored tradition of helping themselves to the bodies of little boys while popes, cardinals and bishops look the other way.

  • areyousaying

    Correction, I should have written:I wonder what responsible person, who didn’t believe this is just all a part of a boy growing up Catholic, would let a kid, nephew or grandson even walk up the steps to one less alone trust them alone with one of your priests who cherish a time honored tradition of helping themselves to the bodies of little boys while popes, cardinals and bishops look the other way.

  • areyousaying

    PS: by banning certain words describing this behavior and the posters who speak out against it, you have further shown your and your Church’s contempt for civil law by including in your evasion tactics denying First Amendment rights. In your simple little world of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do you delusionally believe that just because you have silenced a man it means you have converted him. We won’t be silenced, not anymore. Your tactics of fear of excommunication, purgatory and hell have no power over me and you are sadly naive if you believe there are not others who will not be intimidated either.

  • YEAL9

    As per Rabbi Hirschfield:”This is no different than when leading members of the Jewish community have attempted to silence those who were sexually abused by rabbis.”And how long has this been going on? Based on the OT/Torah time line, Judaism goes back 6000 years.

  • flandysz

    George Weigel is nothing more than a public relations scam artist and apologist for the long-standing sexual crimes of the Catholic clergy–from the bottom to the top of their authoritarian structure.As the sexual scandal continues to widen, it becomes more and more apparent that it will eventually spread to Catholic Third World countries where their victims up to now have not been heard.Why should the situation be any different in those poor countries of Latin America, for example? You still have a situation where a so-called celibate clergy has access to vulnerable kids for their sexual predations.The Washington Post should ask its correspondents in several Latin American countries, especially those with conservative Catholic-oriented governments, to examine selected parishes and see just how safe those kids are.I gotta believe there are tens of thousands of victims who are trapped by their abusive priests as virtual sex-slaves and without anyone to turn to.Those undemocratic countries do not provide public officials or advocates of any kind for those kids to run to. There is no real freedom of the press and what reporters are available are very likely intimidated by the conservative Catholic power structure. Those kids are in such hopeless situations.Washington Post, please look into this. There is a major story here. Those many victims of so many sick, depraved priests need someone to rescue them.

  • elizdelphi

    It is terrible to hear the cries of the mob for the destruction of the Church and the Pope–a Pope who has done perhaps more than anyone to rectify and prevent the crime, devastation and scandal of child sexual abuse within the Church. I love and support the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI in their good and EFFECTIVE efforts.Regarding Fr Murphy the abuser of 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin, the following article by the canon lawyer who was prosecuting the case against him makes some important corrections to the truly poor reporting on this matter.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Re: ColoradoDog’s postThe Vatican has been absolutely predictable these past days; in fact, I’ve received a bunch of emails congratulating me, a Jew, on my forecast. But, if you are Jewish, then the Vatican has always been transparent.First, the pope and Vatican are being “tested” (yuck). Then they are suffering their “passion”Nausea. (Apologies to Sartre)

  • PatC1

    Mr. Weigel,These last few weeks have provided a very clear picture of your church, sir: power of the hierarchy above the well-being of the most vulnerable, and doctrine over the rule of law. Do carry on defending the church at all costs, thereby shedding light (albeit harsh) for all the world to see the true nature of your organization.May I suggest some reading by one of your very own? See Joan Chittister’s web-site for her response to the church’s crisis. Now SHE is a breath of fresh air. Something the Catholic church needs very badly, and soon.

  • concordia1963

    Rev Fr

  • ArchieHaase

    Okay so there have been priests that were molesters! Give the people abused money and ask for forgiveness. If those that want to leave the church so be it be gone! Frankly I am tired very tired of stories from people who say they are former Catholics or their mother was Catholic but because she saw the evangelical lite she left and raised us with no religion. Or those who say self righteously I am an atheistI think enough is enough. Get the hate out of your system those that dump on us Catholics.This has became a witch hunt. I think Catholics should remember how crude these attacks on the Catholic church have been. Remember this the next time someone asks you if you are a Christian. Tell them you are Roman Catholic and damn proud. Tell them when they talk of end times as a Catholic your faith says only God knows when the world ends and Armageddon starts.There are many things the media could spend time on. Peace in the mid east. Israel and it’s human rights abuses, and it’s effort to draw the US into another bombing and invasion this time Iran.But most of all economic injustice that refuses to be dealt with on Wall Street and the US banking system corruption and the US congress’s stupidity.

  • GMartin-Royle

    @archiehaaseAre you really proud to be a member of an institution that allowed it’s employees to sexually assault young children? Are you really proud to be a member of an institution that covers up such assaults and obstructs investigations into them? How do you manage to sleep at night?

  • YEAL9

    As per Rabbi Hirschfield:”This is no different than when leading members of the Jewish community have attempted to silence those who were sexually abused by rabbis.”And how long has this been going on? Based on the OT/Torah time line, Judaism goes back 6000 years.

  • elizdelphi

    It’s been said a few times, the sheer outrage people feel at the thought of a Catholic priest abusing a child reflects the rightly high expectations people have of Catholic priests! They are united to Christ, called to conform themselves to Him closely, their ordination gives them an ability to bring Christ’s healing and unity to the Church. It’s an essential part of their vocation (the vocation of every Christian, but especially of priests) to grow to be holy saints, it’s truly a must to pray for our pastors, because if their own holiness is lacking then how will they help the rest of us on the way to heaven? As men they are also sinners, and very occasionally truly sick and evil men and it is right that the Church is being sensitized to the problems and learning how to protect children effectively through measures such as zero tolerance for any priest with a credible accusation of child molestation to remain in ministry, and indeed it’s better; the cases we keep hearing about are from decades ago. Even among the original twelve Apostles, there was Judas Iscariot, into whom Satan entered, and he betrayed Jesus. “A Light (Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.”

  • coloradodog

    In retrospect, considering the date of this article, it’s all just a Catholic April Fools joke, right?

  • coloradodog

    May you Catholics celebrate your Holy week with the knowledge and shame of your complicity in the fact that there will be no Easter of justice served for the Good Friday I and other victims suffered at the hands of your priests that you still collectively cover up.Enjoy your holiday.

  • suzeq

    “The Catholic Church in America today is likely the country’s safest environment for children.” This outrageous statement is enough to have Weigel removed from any and all positions of responsibility in education or policy.Were his children or grandchildren RAPED by priests, repeatedly as some children were, his clouded view might be more intelligent. Those of us who respect law would see these priests and their colleagues sent to prison and punished for the crimes they have commited.It is unbelievable that there is even one person left who would attempt to blame the press, the public, parents, or anyone except the perpetrators of these hideous crimes. Please Lord, let the scales fall from Weigel’s eyes.

  • coloradodog

    Dear Weigel,I hurt, I have hurt for 46 years and I am hurting from abuse from one of your priests and the cover up that followed not only in my case but in thousands of others.Is this all the “Christian” help you can offer me and thousands of other victims, declaring that we victims who speak out are similar to the Nazi’s that killed the Jews? Have you noting better to offer in the name of poor old Jesus?Is this what your Christ had in mind when he, as you claim, founded your Church?Is this your legacy, hiding criminals against nature, God and man and scapegoating your victims?Is this what Catholics and your Church are really about? How can you joyfully celebrate Easter knowing each and everyone of you is complicit in this international sexual terrorism? Is this really what it means to you to call yourself a “man of God”?I pray for the strength and clarity to simply, totally and finally dismiss all of you as your Lord said,

  • mwcob

    IF there were unbiased reporting, there would be more press given to the thousands of Public School Teachers who have been charged with abuse, and the hundreds who remain on payroll, protected by byzantine union rules.IF there were unbiased reporting, there would be more press given to Episcopal Methodist or Baptist ministers who have committed the same types of abuses, and had them quietly settled. How do I know this? Because I’ve testified twice against Protestant ministers that I worked with prior to my conversion to Cathlicism.IF there were unbiased reporting, we’d hear that reporters are JUST as involved in the types of behaviours they attack in print. how do I know? I worked with them for years. I overheard their boasts. (Sound travels boys…)IF there were unbiased reporting, we’d hear more about the 99.9995% of Catholics who are teaching, healing, helping, giving and praying. I am the Catholic Church as much as the very very small percentage of those who have, admittedly, betrayed their faith family.

  • tbarksdl

    Reading Catholic apologists like George Weigel takes me right back to the days of segregation and the the civil rights struggle. Americans in the 1960s could view the South and see right in front of their eyes the result of centuries of slavery and another century of African-Americans being left on their on to suffer from discrimination, denial of basic human rights, abuse, lynchings, poverty, violence, poor health, schools that were little more than shacks, and a lack of economic opportunity. But white Southerners would stand on top of this dung hill, look you in the eye, and sing the praise of segregation as serving the best interest of both races and as perfectly in conformity with basic American values. Fifty years later, George Weigel and other Catholic apologists exhibit the same arrogant, blind, and ignorant mentality in dealing with the Church’s perverted sex issue.

  • elizdelphi

    Dear Coloradodog,When Christ prayed for those who mocked and crucified Him, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” He did the opposite of dismissing them–he showed them Mercy. He practiced what He preached: “pray for your enemies, do good for those who persecute you.” Will you pray for me, for those who failed you, who have dismissed you, who have been angry with you, those who have been oblivious or uncaring while you suffered, will you pray for the priests and religious, for the Bishops, for the Pope, even for the man who abused you, again, will you pray for me, just an ordinary Catholic lay person, who knows nothing of what you have experienced? I can hope for Mercy, even for love, even that we could be on friendly terms.Children need to be protected, and when unspeakable evils are done against them their suffering and the effects on their lives cries out for justice, not just cheap mercy. Jesus’ words are very strong, for those who cause little ones to stumble it is better that they had never been born or that millstones be hung around their necks and they be thrown into the sea. This gives me no doubt that God will bring justice to bear. He is also merciful and invites us to be merciful, Jesus told us that our own sins would be forgiven if we forgive those who sin against us, as we forgive our debtors. I don’t think it would be illegitimate to see in the tableau of Christ’s Passion and death, a graphic depiction of how difficult and painful, and how loving and how much the image and embodiment of God’s Merciful Love, this can be.Coloradodog, you have prayed “Father, forgive them.” How can I or others help you to carry the cross on the way of forgiveness that leads not to letting anybody off the hook scott free for unspeakable crimes, but to resurrection, to your own peace? Whoever it was that harmed you, your posts suggest that he’s continuing to harm you and cause you a lot of suffering. Only by the path of forgiveness can any of us really get free.If this is not appropriate to write, then forgive me, and again I ask for your prayers for me and for the Church.

  • pioneer1

    The glory of America is that few people really care who lives next door, Catholic or Mormon or Scientologist. But we do and ought to care about longterm conspiracies to evade the criminal law about harboring child molesters.

  • YEAL9

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.Neither is being elected president of the US!!! e.g. Billy “Boy” Clinton.Neither is being the blessed with athletic skills!!! e.g. Tiger Woods, Wilt Chamberlin

  • areyousaying

    ARCHIEHAASE wrote:Okay so there have been priests that were molesters! Give the people abused money and ask for forgiveness______________________________I don’t want any of your filthy semen and blood stained money! I want justice for present and future victims. Do you think, like William Donohue, we victims are “gold diggers” – little-boy-sex-workers who can be paid for our “services” to you pervert priests by your obscenely rich church? You disgust me.

  • futuralogic

    Why are monotheistic traditions (Christianity and Islam) unable to live in peace in pluralist societies?It costs 145 billion dollars to operate global Christianity, records a book on evangelization. The Church commands 4,000,000 full time Christian workers, it runs 13,000 major libraries, it publishes 22,000 periodicals, it operates 1,800 Christian Radio and TV stations. It runs 1,500 universities and 930 research centers. It has 250,000 foreign missionaries and over 400 institutions to train them. These are 1989 numbers. No wonder Church needs Nazi gold looted from Jews of Europe and drug money to support this gigantic multinational operation.Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “Only the other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple, and demolished it. This is outrageous.” (quoted in Harijan: November 5, 1937).Sexual abuse and corruption in India’s Catholic Churches

  • 5amefa91

    Actually, George, the problem is that child molester priests have too often been handled as a matter of sin within the Church. Child molester priests should be handled as common criminals by the criminal justice system. The Pope does not have the answer. Jail is the answer.

  • barferio

    …Anyone who knows the elementary facts of the history of the Holy See’s handling of these cases over the last decade knows that Ratzinger was at the forefront of efforts to bring abusers to book,Let’s go with that, let us assume that Ratzinger was at the forefront of effort to bring abusers ‘to book’ [whatever that means].He must not have been very good at it, don’t you think? Either he did something about it to stop these priests from molesting little boys, or he did something to suppress these stories … neither of which worked out for him did it?George Weigel, how many little boys have been molested around the world since you wrote this piece? Do you have any since of guilt at all that you are defending an organization that promotes the molesting of little boys?Maybe you yourself were molested, and this is some strange variant of Stockholm syndrome, is that it?

  • YEAL9

    Being an atheist is no guarantee of good behavior since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

  • YEAL9

    Why did today’s pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society’s sexual sins, lose sight of clerical sexual sins?Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.Neither is being elected president of the USA!!! e.g. Billy “Boy” (“I did not have sex with that girl”) Clinton, lover-boy and RC JFKNeither is being blessed with athletic skills!!! e.g. Tiger Woods (“even the secrets/cover-ups of the rich and famous don’t last forever”), Wilt ChamberlinNeither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.Neither is being an atheist since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

  • Alex511

    fr the article:>…The charge that Ratzinger, when archbishop of Munich, knowingly reassigned a dangerous predator to pastoral ministry has been flatly denied by both the archdiocese and the Vatican. …The vatican has lied, and the author knows it. It’s time for benny to be given a choice; quit or be fired. 30 minutes to clear out his desk, be allowed only ONE box of stuff to carry out the backdoor, by benny, have the box inspected by security before he is escorted by security, out the back door. Anything else that he has should be sold and the proceeds given to his VICTIMS directly. NO pension, NO benefits, NO fancy house. He had full knowledge of what was happening and is just trying to save his own hide.

  • agbroadhurst

    Cardinal Joseph Rattinger was in charge of the office at the Vatican that is supposed to deal with molesting priests for 21 years. In that time he issued orders for secrecy about molestation. He did not defrock or excommunicate priests–he acted to hide it from public view to prevent scandal. That makes him complicit in the abuse. The AP reports: “The Vatican No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, rebuffed questions about the pontiff’s silence on the topic [of Pedophilia], indicating that Benedict was standing firm.”Someone with sense and access needs to take the top Vatican officials into the woodshed for a “tough love” conversation and beat some common sense into their hard heads. Apparently the Vatican is not used to serious persistent criticism and it continues to blunder. Even a novice in public life knows that if you do not have a defense you attack the accuser to change the subject. Unfortunately for the Pope and the Vatican the public is not easily fooled by this tactic. So when the Vatican says that “accusations that he [the Pope] helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic ‘hate’ campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage” we are left perplexed and in dis-belief at both the audacity and the incompetence of the spokesman.I see no need to review the evidence that top Vatican officials (including with all probability the Pope) were complicit in the cover-up of widespread serial pedophilia, ephebephilia and sexual molestation by priests against young victims. There is no need to repeat the argument that this is a serious violation of priestly duty that was made worse by trying to tamp down publicity, muzzling victims, and transferring priests to other dioceses where they continued their molestation. This whole horrid story is a black eye for the Church, which continues to defend, deny and deflect accusations and charges. Obviously the guys in the long robes don’t get it, or rather don’t want to get it, because the implications for the Church and the priesthood are almost too serious for them to contemplate.If they don’t wake up pretty soon and begin to change the mentality that allows this sort of evil to fester under the long robes, their fast declining moral authority will be squandered and they might as well close their doors because they will have no one’s respect.The Rev. Arthur G Broadhurst