by Edd Doerr
On July 14 the New York Times, the Washington Post, and probably a zillion other media carried the story, as the Times headed it, "Irish Report Says Catholic Church's Sexual Abuse Scandal Has Persisted", dealing with the Irish government's just released Cloyne Report, the fourth report in just Ireland on the abuse scandals and coverups. Over the past year and a half I have accumulated a three inch thick file on the clergy abuse scandals in 16 (sic!) countries from just the New York Times and the National Catholic Reporter.
On the same day, July 14, USA Today ran a story with this head, "Teens to confess their sins to Pope Benedict XVI". Quite naturally I felt impelled to post this comment on the USA Today blog:
"Rather than having teens confess their sins to the pope, wouldn't it be better if the pope would confess the sins of the clergy and bishops (regarding the worldwide clergy sexual abuse scandals, etc) to the teens and ask their forgiveness? The Vatican needs repentance far more than the teens. Benedict gives new meaning to the word chutzpah (Latin: impudentia; German: Frechheit)."
Lest I be accused of being anti-Catholic, let me state clearly that I differentiate between the misbehavior, overreach, patriarchalism, anti-choice activism, school voucher promotion, and general highhandedness of the Vatican, the bishops and some conservative laity, on the one hand, and the moderation, progressivism, and decency of most Catholics, on the other. I applaud the progressivism of Catholic Democrats in Congress and state governments, the great contributions to religious liberty and church-state separation of people like the late Justice William Brennan and Rep Robert Drinan (who led the fight against a school prayer amendment in Congress in 1971), such organizations as Catholics for Choice, and such publications as the National Catholic Reporter.
The preceding, along with my admiration for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (on whose board I represented the AHA for over 30 years), the Interfaith Alliance, assorted Jewish groups, etc, represent a humanistic approach to the world in which we find ourselves.