Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The media coverage of the Church's response to sexual abuse by priests has not always been fair, but Church leaders sure aren't helping matters. Blaming pedophilia on homosexuality seems irresponsible, at best. This is an area that is so inflammatory, so prone to bigotry and perceptions of scapegoating, that if the Church is going to make causal pronouncements about the underlying incidents of abuse, those statements need to be careful, restrained, and backed up by evidence. A coordinated Vatican response would be helpful (and would have been more helpful a few weeks ago). If this is the coordinated response, then there is even more cause for concern.
Why has it been so difficult for Church leaders to respond to the sexual abuse media coverage in a way that does not come off as self-pitying, overly defensive, or shifting the blame? Is this a consequence of Church leaders operating largely beyond the reach of public criticism for so many years? Have the anti-Christian strains in today's culture created an unhealthy "circle the wagons" mentality among Church leaders that is difficult to escape? Is there a perception that admitting mistakes by Church leadership -- including the pope -- will cause believers to stumble in the faith, and thus such admissions should be avoided at all costs? Is it the media's failure to report the responses that are actually and appropriately humble and remorseful? Something else?