A bit of late blogging on this one. From the most unlikely of source - the pages of the NYT - we see a substantive defense of Pope Benedict XVI as to his own role in the Church's sex abuse scandals. Op-ed columnist Ross Douthat takes note of the efforts then Cardinal Ratzinger made to address sex scandals in the Church, fighting the Vatican bureauacracy and the disorganization of Pope John Paul II. As Mr. Douthat concludes:
So the high-flying John Paul let scandals spread beneath his feet, and the uncharismatic Ratzinger was left to clean them up. This pattern extends to other fraught issues that the last pope tended to avoid — the debasement of the Catholic liturgy, or the rise of Islam in once-Christian Europe. And it extends to the caliber of the church’s bishops, where Benedict’s appointments are widely viewed as an improvement over the choices John Paul made. It isn’t a coincidence that some of the most forthright ecclesiastical responses to the abuse scandal have come from friends and protégés of the current pope.
Has Benedict done enough to clean house and show contrition? Alas, no. Has his Vatican responded to the latest swirl of scandal with retrenchment, resentment, and an un-Christian dose of self-pity? Absolutely. Can this pontiff regain the kind of trust and admiration, for himself and for his office, that John Paul II enjoyed? Not a chance.
But as unlikely as it seems today, Benedict may yet deserve to be remembered as the better pope.
Do read the entire article.