Yes, I know. "Excitable Andrew" is getting excitable again. The recent flurry of stories about sexual abuse and acting out in the Catholic church is just a flurry. The Pope is not Cardinal Law. The hierarchy remains entrenched in the developing world. Benedict's gamble - to double-down on denial about the celibate priesthood's sexual problems, to add more incense to the smoke-screen and more pageantry to the theater of it all - is working.
But it isn't. Let us review the recent evidence. The American church is still shell-shocked by abuse cases that have implicated the very top of the church hierarchy in recent years. Many Catholics - from the liberals to the arch-conservatives - will never feel the same way they once did about this institution, nor should we. The church in Ireland is in tatters, attendance cratering and vocations collapsing. Yes: Ireland. This is a function not just of the abuse crisis, but it has played a central role. We just found out that the current primate, Cardinal Sean Brady,
as a priest in 1975 ... was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against pedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
Brady refuses point-blank to resign:
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said this week that he will only resign if he's personally asked to by the Pope. In Ireland increasing calls for his resignation have come amid allegations that he attended meetings were children were asked to sign vows of silence over the abuse they had suffered.
But if the Pope asked Brady to resign, wouldn't he also have to ask himself to resign? After all, the Pope was part of a similar cover-up in Germany in which then-cardinal Ratzinger knowingly assigned a pedophile priest to therapy, without informing the authorities that he knew that the priest had forced an eleven year old boy to fellate him, and then allowed that priest to continue in his career, with his finally being convicted of more child abuse six years later. He was only removed from pastoral duties a few days ago.