"An Administrative Nightmare"

Dreher's view of the Church's crisis:

OK, look. There are over 400,000 Catholic priests on the planet. Do you know how many priests are on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has oversight in these matters? Something like 40. It is inevitable that the Vatican will have to rely on local bishops to attend to most of these matters. I can't think of another church or religious organization that has comparable global reach, and which is centrally administered. I'm not trying to let the Vatican off the hook here, but I am trying to understand how difficult it is for the CDF to do proper oversight with such paltry resources.

Agreed. But the reason for this is the control freakery at the heart of the theocon understanding of the papacy. You cannot both defend total centralization of the church under papal control - which is how Benedict weeded out any dissenters - and then plead for mercy when you fail to handle the situation in weeding out abusers. If the Pope had devoted the same kind of attention to policing child-rape as he did to policing free thought, I'd be with Peggy Noonan on this. But he didn't. How many times did Ratzinger get on the phone directly with a local parish the way he hunted down, say, Charlie Curran? We know the answer to that and it isn't pretty.

Dissent was much more intolerable to Ratzinger than child-rape. And that's why this Pope is now so full of it. He's been hoisted on his own canards.