Sunday, March 14, 2010

Abuse scandal reaches the Vatican

Michael Wolff suggests that the latest upswing of the priest abuse scandal in Europe comes right to the Popes door and threatens his position directly.

This isn't getting much attention in the US, but it's a big one: The Pope's in trouble.

Trouble, trouble. Not-going-away trouble. Run-out-of-office trouble. It's a potentially transformative moment in matters of religion and of power, wherein even the infallible turns out to be vulnerable. Some of us live for such moments.

It's the priest sex story, the same one we've already done -- and done. But now it's popping up in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, all markets which make the American news media yawn. But come on. The priest sex story is one of the best we've had. It's one of the ones that the media of our time is going to be remembered for. It's the ultimate destruction of fa├žade; the giving of voice to silence; the catching of deer and hypocrites in the headlights. It's our triumph.

It's also, on the other hand, our shame. Because who hasn't known for generations that that's what priests were doing? And yet the story went untold. It had to wait for 30 or 40 years for public sensibility to catch up with it before it was told.
He also makes the point we all know but almost never see in print: This isn't a story about aberrant behavior that is an exception to the norm; clearly a disturbingly large percentage of priests became priests precisely for the sexual access to children.

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