Sometimes you would think everyday is opposite day in regards to the media.
The one public leader who did the most covertly to help the Jewish people during WWII is of course vilified by the media as being anti-Semitic and not doing anything.
Now we have the case of one Cardinal who as he became aware of individual cases of priestly abuse and later the scope of the abuse scandal reacted to the problem. As Pope he is now of course vilified as not only not doing enough, but through his actions contributing to the problem.
The media’s opposite day though does not just effect reporting in regards to the Pope. Mostly all reporting on the Catholic Church is backwards as if every story is run through a simple inverter.
Now apparently the media is under the impression that laicization confers an ontological change in regards to a sexual abuser. That somehow once a priest involved in the depravity of sexual abuse when laicized all problems will subsequently go away. I guess Stephen Kiesle didn’t get the message since after he was laicized he got married and then went on to abuse others after this. For the media it does not matter that the priest in this case was already removed from ministry by his Bishop.
You have to wonder why it is that the ire is directed to then-Cardinal Ratzinger and not the California courts who gave Stephen Kiesle a light sentence and then destroyed the evidence after a two year probation.
The media does an excellent service when it exposes how abuse was mishandled, hidden, or the problem shuffled off to another parish/diocese. Great evil has been done by those who contributed to the problem instead of protecting their flock. It is hard to come up with a good reason why bishops would shuffle abusive priests in the first place. It is safe to say there motives were not to inflict abuse on more victims. Perhaps some thought that treatment programs would actually work or that a change of scenery would be just the thing — An almost criminal naiveté. Or simply as so many do they justified the act to hide scandal or to make a problem seem to just go away. Sin always twists reason until so many vapid justification might seem actually defensible. Add to this a denial of exactly what they had done and the efforts to hide this we came to the current situation that first broke out here, then places in Europe, and sadly we will find the same in other countries as time goes on. I have wondered why so many Irish bishops have resigned and yet only one American Cardinal did. It is not as if we didn’t have plenty of protectors of abusers here. Maybe the Irish bishops had more shame for their actions, I just don’t know. We have had plenty of diocese pay out millions to those abused, yet the enablers of abuse are pretty much left in place. I wish that famous Catholic guilt would have been more effective for those destined to wear millstones if they do not repent.
These cases also go to the problem of what you do with sexual abusers generally? Priestly abusers must of course be removed from ministry, but I wonder if just washing your hands of them and releasing them to the general public is the best process? Those involved with sexual abuse are rarely cured of this and as history has shown will go on and abuse others even if they had spent a term in prison. Societies answer of having a list of sexual abusers where people can find if they are living in their neighborhoods hasn’t prevented abuse in some cases. The Church just can’t send abusers off to a remote monastery to live out the rest of their lives. Abusers often see themselves as the victim and are unlikely to remain there. The Church also can not run a prison for such individuals, that is the role of society which unfortunately is prone to releasing abusers pack into society. Considering the recidivism rates for sexual abuse should the sentences become lifetime sentences? There is the case of Alessandro Serenelli who attempted to rape Saint Maria Goretti and who did repent of his act and later lived a life of penance. Cases like this are rare and most abusers are not helped via the world of psychiatry. These are the questions we should be grasping with instead of the stupdity of trying to link Pope Benedict XVI as a problem in regards to priest abuse.