The Pope is quite aware of two facts of the global crisis: that it is far worse in other parts of society than it is in the Catholic Church today, and that the Catholic Church must nonetheless hold itself to a higher standard than others. Indeed, as one of the bright spots in this dark picture, Benedict’s letter notes that the Church’s efforts to come to grips with these problems within the household of faith which have been more far-reaching than in any other institution or sector of society have led others to look to the Catholic Church for guidance on how to address what is, in fact, a global plague.
Those who see in these scandals an opportunity to cripple the Catholic Church and its moral teaching have long had the card of “cover-up” to play in the global media. That card has now been taken away by Benedict XVI. Those who care for the Church, on the other hand, must now hope and pray that the follow-up from the Vatican is as vigorous and unsparing as the Pope’s letter.
One should recall that George Weigel was for a very long time, a prominent defender of cult-leader, sexual abuser and secret husband and father, Father Marcial Maciel - until his abuses became so public, so horendous and so shameless that even Weigel couldn't keep up the charade. (Only when there was no option, Weigel called for a full outside investigation into Maciel's sex-and-power cult. He has yet to suggest the same for the current papacy.)