CNN relentlessly attacked Pope Benedict XVI today. Anderson Cooper and Jack Cafferty wasted no time making illogical inferences that the Holy Father was guilty of covering up a pedophile priest while he was a German Archbishop in 1980. That Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was Archbishop at the time is not de facto empirical evidence he knew everything nor that he was told everything about Fr. Peter Hullermann. Furthermore, the press and media which love sound bytes loathe long explanations even if they clarify the truth.
Has it not happened in the military and other institutions where subordinate officers shield, dilute or even prevent the full truth and complete details on certain matters from getting to their superiors desk? Often, in a sense of misguided loyalty, lower authorities have made themselves buffers to their immediate or higher bosses. Some details get filtered, others do not. But the decision to withhold information often does not come from ABOVE but from BELOW. Middle management often tries to keep a lid on things hoping to avoid crisis. Rarely is it the case that the leaders tell their subordinates 'keep me in the dark so I can have plausible deniability.' Rather, I have seen it happen in the corporate and business world, in the political world, in the military and in academia and even in the ecclesiastical realm where either ambitious or well-meaning but grossly imprudent middle management bureaucrats filter information and become a buffer between their subordinates and their own superiors. Hence, the higher-ups are many times genuinely in the dark. I have personally been made aware of instances where the local bishop was invincibly ignorant of significant details on pertinent matters, facts, conversations, etc., precisely because a lower church official (diocesan bureaucrat) deliberately suppressed this information from the bishop. Sometimes, it was motivated out of a distorted love of the church that unpleasant truth needs to be kept quiet, while in other cases it is a hidden agenda of the middle management to promote heterodox doctrine or disobedient behavior by refusing to pass on information regarding violators who may also be colleagues or at least sympathizers. Bishops presume they will get quick, accurate and complete information. Not always the case. When one of my former bishops was consecrated to the episcopacy, he was told by classmates: "there are two things bishops never get: a bad meal and the whole truth"
Hence, we do not know what Pope Benedict knew, nor what he was told in 1980. Also, it is inaccurate to identify all cases of child sex abuse as PEDOPHILIA. That is limited to those deviants who are sexually attracted to PRE-PUBESCENT children and they are incapable of being cured or rehabilitated. Unfortunately, that was not always what psychiatrists and psychologists were saying 30 years ago. Today, they say one thing; three decades ago, however, there was false hope and promise that therapy could cure almost every mental problem. Medication and therapy are not enough to control the disgusting desires of true pedophiles. What is also not said in the press is that the NUMBER of pedophiles, be they Catholic clergy or Protestant Clergy, is that the instances are more rare than cases of EPHEBOPHILIA is the abnormal attraction of adults to ADOLESCENT (pubescent) teenagers. Legally, both pedophiles and ephebophiles prey on minors. The former is a more severe form, however, whereas the latter is more prevalent but has more reasonable hope of recovery. Either one is deviant, immoral, and gravely sinful. Ephebophiles are often adults seeking the sexual intimacy of same gender teenagers. Sometimes they are not. Recall several 'cougar' school-teachers who seduced their teenage boyfriends? One eventually married and bore the children of her high school trist.
This brings to light the other reality that CELIBATE MALE CATHOLIC PRIESTS are not the predominant group who commit child sex abuse. The overwhelming majority of cases involve PARENTS and SIBLINGS then come RELATIVES and NEIGHBORS, then TEACHERS, COACHES, SCOUT MASTERS and CLERGY (of any and all denominations, Christian or Jew; Catholic, Protestant or Eastern Orthodox). Yet, the media has no time nor stomach to expose the whole depth and breadth of this heinous evil. Every walk of life, both genders, all religions and all careers have cases of child abuse in some shape or form. This does not make it less disgusting or less evil but its proliferation runs the gamut of human activity.
Ending priestly celibacy would not prevent fathers, brothers, teachers or coaches from abusing children. Most celibate priests live chaste lives. A few do not and need to stop and confess their sins. Real pedophilia is by all current accounts incurable. Those guilty of molestation should be punished swiftly and severely. Those who have not misbehaved but have the inclination or those who have served their sentence (without parole), should still be kept isolated from children. Long ago, such folks were sent to a monastery far away from kids and in total cloister and under total supervision. That was far better than sending him to a rehab center and then reassigning him later. But remember, 30 and 40 and 50 or more years ago, the medical profession told our bishops that homosexuality was no longer an abnormality and that most mental and sexual problems were treatable with therapy and/or medication. Only recently have we seen the scientists recant and at least admit that some pathologies, like pedophilia, are incurable and beyond total rehabilitation. This is why laws must be passed to keep child sex offenders off the streets and out of the neighborhoods where children live, play or go to school.
There are some anti-Catholics who relish the idea of making Pope Benedict the scapegoat for clergy sex abuse of children. If anything, he had some incompetent or imprudent subordinates who did not fully disclose all the facts while he was archbishop. So did other bishops, pastors, ministers, rabbis, generals, admirals, principals, etc. Why aren't the doctors who initially gave a clean bill of health to many of these pedophile and ephebophile deviants after a period of expensive rehab held accountable for their bad judgment? Why are not all institutions given the same extreme scrutiny given the Catholic Church? Other denominations have the SAME PERCENTAGE of child sex abusers as found in the RC Church but we do not read or hear of it as often, partially because they do not keep as many or as detailed records as we do. This is not a "Catholic" or just "clergy" phenomenon nor is it a 'sick symptom or by-product' of CELIBACY, since the majority of child sex abusers are MARRIED LAITY. Any case of child abuse, physical, sexual or emotional, is a grave evil and mortal sin. No doubt about it. Hiding it and ignoring it make it worse, however, is it not the case of family child abuse as well? Are there not cases where mothers kept quiet while their children were molested by their fathers or step-fathers, brothers or other male relatives? The sin of silence has MANY collateral victims and perpetrators.
CNN should look at the entire scope of child abuse. When NBC had a weekly show catching would-be sex offenders looking for underage children, 99% if not more looked to me to be LAY men. Children are victimized by too many people of both genders, both sexual orientations, all religions and every career and culture known to man. Zeroing in on just one small percentage does a disservice across the board.