I want to be careful here because I do understand there is a scandal of terrible proportions being played out in the Catholic church and there is some truth in what Peggy Noonan says: the media actually help the church by exposing what needs exposing. But Maureen Dowd is simply out of line to declare the Pope at fault in a Wisconsin case that occurred while he was in Munich and that really was the responsibility of the very liberal Archbishop Rembert Weakland. Weakland, who retired under a cloud after he was accused of blackmailing a gay lover into silence, turned a blind eye for twenty years to the abuse of deaf children in his archdiocese and responded to accusations of abuse by accusing the accusers of “squealing.” Put that man in the liberal hall of fame.
Then take a look at this column by Dowd and note the distortions: the suggestion the Pope was somehow responsible for covering up the scandal, the “feeling” that there’s an “international battalion” of priestly abusers, the lie that Dick Cheney exposed Valerie Plame (it was Bush critic Richard Armitage), that the homsexuality of pedophile priests is a matter of mere convenience (hey, I’m all for gay people but these were gay abusers and the truth is the truth) and on and on. It’s of course possible Pope Benedict did something wrong at some point – though I sure hope not; he’s one of the great minds of the age. But a fair or even honest columnist doesn’t condemn a man on the basis of her own seething neurotic hatreds, she waits for what I believe journalists used to call “evidence,” which is actually something different.
If you want a good, balanced account of the Pope’s largely positive role in the scandals as known so far, here it is from – it should be said – a writer from a liberal magazine writing on the Times op-ed page. The excellent William McGurn also weighs in here at the paper of record, the Wall Street Journal.