My Sunday column:

If you were responsible for handling the case of a priest who you knew had abused, raped and molested up to 200 deaf children for decades, would you not believe it was your business to resolve it swiftly? Would you be concerned, as the documents from the case reveal he was, about the risk of “increasing scandal” and the “need for secrecy”? Would you encourage the archbishop to drop the trial in view of the priest’s ailing health and imminent death?

I can only speak for myself a wayward Catholic sinner, a married homosexual who still clings to the truth of the Gospels and the sacredness of the church. I wouldn’t do any of those things. Full stop. If I knew I had any role witting or unwitting in allowing children to be raped by someone I could have stopped, by someone over whom I had authority, I would not be able to sleep at night. I would be haunted for the rest of my life.

The thought of covering up for someone who forced sex on deaf children in closets at night is incomprehensible to me. Allowing someone who had raped three children to go elsewhere and rape many more, when you were explicitly warned that this man was a walking danger to children? I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but: no. Never. Under any circumstances; in any period of time; for whatever reason. Even if my failure were mere negligence, my conscience would be racked.

So, why, to ask the obvious question, isn’t the Pope’s?

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.