It's About Time a Bishop Was Indicted
As regular readers know, I've devoted considerable time to writing about the child-molestation scandal engulfing the Catholic church. The core of this story isn't that there are child abusers within the ranks of the clergy, but that their superiors within the church have consistently enabled and protected them by hushing up their crimes, failing to report them to the authorities, and continually moving them to new parishes where they could prey upon new victims. As the saying goes, it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.
This is just what we should expect from an institution premised on hierarchy, secrecy, and unaccountability. The Catholic church still conceives of the relationship between itself and its parishioners as the relationship between a king and his subjects: the bishops and cardinals have complete power and make all their decisions in secret, and ordinary Catholics are expected to be quiet and obedient - or as the Pope once put it, to follow the church's decrees "like a docile flock." And even after all the lawsuits, convictions, and consent decrees, the church's higher-ups still think in this mold - that "avoiding scandal", or in other words, avoiding damage to the church's public image - is the most important factor, outweighing even the need to protect children from sex predators. Late last week, we had further appalling confirmation of that.
When adults are challenged to behave like adults, by a child, they can go in one of two directions.