After countless of institutionally-aided and -protected child-rape, the Pope sees no reason to hold anyone in a cassock, you know, accountable or responsible. Lisa Miller sounds baffled by the pope's letter to Irish Catholics. She shouldn't have been. This is like Bush conceding error. The enormity of the error is so great, confessing it would compel the man to step down.
[T]hough the Pope did concede that the church has demonstrated “a misplaced concern for the reputation of the church and the avoidance of scandal” and said he “openly expressed the shame and remorse that we all feel,” he also continued to blame the scandal on others. No onenot bishops, priests, nuns, parents, even the faithfulthemselves, escape having to bear the responsibility of this terrible burden. “I urge you,” he wrote to Catholic parents, “to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children.” Not all parents are above reproach, of course, but this seems to me to be entirely missing the point.
There are plenty of very strong words in it, and a level of detail and directness that is incomparably better than the vague euphemisms Benedict's predecessor used to talk about the scandal, when he bothered to talk about it at all. Remember too that on more than a few occasions, Benedict has met with victims of pederast priests; John Paul II, for all his personal sanctity, never did. I do wish Benedict would go further, and hold select bishops more directly to account for their sins and failings, including aiding and abetting serious crimes.
John Allen addresses the bishop question:
While Benedict's letter to Ireland is striking in both tone and substance, critics will likely also point to what it does not contain. For example, there is no call for bishops who reassigned abuser-priests to resign. Although the pope calls bishops to renew their "accountability before God," he offers no new mechanisms or policies to enforce that accountability.