It may appear that I have some special animus towards the Catholic Church but I have no particular grudge with them. I was raised a Catholic but never experienced any abuse. My experience with them was ordinary and mundane. They are simply the biggest religious institution in the world and therefore the biggest and easiest target. And irrationality is a staple of any faith-held system of belief or dogma which often leads to human misery. Hence the numerous comments.
Right now the Church is experiencing in various European countries the same scandal that has rocked the US - that of pedophile priests and the inevitable coverup by the Church hierarchy.
The Pope apologized in that special papal manner: The Pope said Irish bishops "failed, at times, grievously," and "serious mistakes were made" when confronted with clerical sexual abuse. He called the abuse, which was outlined in devastating detail in two investigations released last year in Ireland, "sinful and criminal." (Go to http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/pope-apologizes-to-irish-catholics-and-orders-vatican-probe/19407682 .)
But the Pope did not admit that the Church hierarchy had any culpability; the organized and papally directed obfuscation remained off limits and not apologized for. What else did anyone expect?
But the Pope went further; The Pope cited the country's long history of "persecution" and "recent decades of secularization" as some of the many cultural and societal factors that left Irish Catholics more vulnerable to "the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse."
So it was "secularization" that caused priests to rape children and for their superiors to cover it up!
It could not have been Church policy, could it?
From the Guardian: "Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.
It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week." (Go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/apr/24/children.childprotection .)
The Pope is, in my opinion, a liar and, in my opinion, has been an active enabler of the sexual abuse of children.
ADDENDUM: 3 27 2010: (From AOL News)-- "Just days after Pope Benedict XVI chastised Irish bishops for covering up clerical sexual abuse in Ireland, new documents suggest he did nothing to discipline a Wisconsin priest he knew had molested scores of deaf boys -- and may have blocked a church trial in the case." (Go to
While the media struggles to admit the obvious, which is the Pope has covered up child rape in the past, these stories just seem to keep multiplying.