POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Dowd: time for Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) to enter the confessional box? Perhaps, but the defendant’s seat in a criminal proceeding might be even more appropriate.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 31, 2010


(AP – 3/31/10) … European bishops are urging clerical sex abuse victims to go to police and are promising more transparency and cooperation with civil authorities in abuse cases. The Swiss Bishops Conference said Wednesday that its members underestimated the problem of clerical abuse and are now telling victims to consider criminal complaints. Denmark’s Catholic Church said it would launch an investigation next week into claims of clerical abuse dating back several decades. And Italy’s bishop’s conference has promised to cooperate with civil authorities. The statements come a week after Pope Benedict XVI excoriated Irish bishops for serious errors in judgment in their handling of abuse and demanded they cooperate with civil authorities. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100331/ap_on_re_eu/eu_church_abuse

Maureen Dowd writes in the NYT (3/31/10) …

  • It doesn’t seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin.
  • Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church’s reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children.
  • This week of special confessions and penance services is unfolding as the pope resists pressure from Catholics around the globe for his own confession and penance about the cascade of child sexual abuse cases that were ignored, even by a German diocese and Vatican office he ran.
  • The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday.
  • If church fund-raising and contributions dry up, Benedict’s P.R. handlers may yet have to stage a photo-op where he steps out of the priest’s side of the confessional and enters the side where the rest of his fallible flock goes.

Read the entire column at … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/opinion/31dowd.html?ref=opinion


Ms. Dowd does not go far enough. A confession by Joseph Ratzinger would be personal and private, as it should be for him as an individual who seeks forgiveness for his sins. What is needed, however, is a very public confession and, more than that, the action needed to hold accountable those who have committed crimes as well as sins. Catholic priests who abused children, and the monsignors, bishops, cardinals and popes who covered up these crimes, need to be held criminally accountable.



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