A reader writes:
I was struck by this quote in your post on “The Pope’s Defenders”: “there were more than 1,000 priests in the archdiocese at the time and that Ratzinger entrusted that kind of personnel matter to subordinates.”
Having recently supervised 1,000 subordinates in positions of public trustlaw enforcement officers, who are placed in much more difficult circumstances than priestsI found this “excuse” appalling. I knew (and responded, and followed up) when one of my officers spoke intemperately to a member of the public, which was normally met with formal discipline. More serious cases, such as an off-duty assault, often resulted in counseling which was carefully tracked and progress assessed as final disciplinary decisions were made and meted out.
Put aside the horrible truth that the Church is an organization that puts someone guilty of an act like that back into a position of public trust at all, and just ask why the head executive wouldn’t bother to monitor the most serious misconduct and discipline case under his purview. Just the fact that an organization with this much importance to so many people has not had a system or process for managing these cases is negligence of the highest order.
But I fearas you have eloquently expressed about a Church that you still respect and love in many waysthat something worse than negligence is underlying these continued revelations of abuse. When something this evil is endemic across multiple churches on different continents, there is an intrinsic cultural problem, perhaps with roots in the dual public commitments to celibacy and anti-homosexuality.
The Church, and the Pope, must address this, NOW, or they will undermine the very commitments and teachings they have spent a lifetime serving.