The National Catholic Reporter gets the importance of this moment:

We now face the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history.

Its editorial demands a personal response from the pontiff to clear evidence of his own personal complicity in cases of child rape and abuse and their subsequent cover-up:

The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role -- as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) -- in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church. It is that serious.

I think it's that serious too. But this Pope could not face such a press conference or even a more dignified "credible forum". The entire edifice could crumble to dust.

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