Perhaps, as is alleged, the process showed no evidence of a "cover up." Maybe so and maybe not, but at the very least, the entire agonizingly slow investigation reveals a shocking willingness to protect the "universal church" over protecting the bodies, souls and spirits of children. Add this to the numerous sordid stories of other areas of the country, the world, other cardinals and bishops, and the widespread disregard for innocent people makes me feel queasy. I am appalled, disgusted, and grieved. I am also deeply sad for the numerous Roman Catholics who feel betrayed by their church. And I am extremely glad that my own denomination, among others, handles these kinds of allegations very differently. Sadly, at least in my area, many deeply angry Catholics refuse to darken the door of a Catholic church but are unwilling to consider the possibility of attending another kind of Christian church. Contrary to Ratzinger's remarks, the "universal church" is not just Roman Catholics.
And on a different but related subject, see It's Not About Celibacy by Jesuit priest, James Martin. Many people have said to me something like, "Well, until they let priests get married they'll keep having this problem." I disagree.Obviously, I do not believe that one must remain single in order to minister effectively. I think that celibacy could be an option for for certain Catholic religious orders. Those who feel called to priestly ministry but also want to have a family, like Protestants, could join different orders. An increasing number of Catholics seem to agree. But to equate celibacy with the kind of psychological disturbance, (and sin) that is involved with sexual abuse is disturbing. Do we believe that unmarried persons are more likely to commit rape? (If you do, you do not understand that rape is not simply a sexual act but a violent one.)
For that matter, isn't it time that we Protestant folks stop viewing single clergy as somehow suspect? Have we totally thrown out the Apostle Paul's remarks on this? There are advantages to a celibate life, and Rev. Martin enumerates them well in his article.
And last, lest we non-Catholic church folks be temped to secretly rejoice a bit at the troubles of others, remember that what affects one religious body in a community affects all the religious organizations around it. What affects one denomination will result in difficulty for all of us. Catholic clergy, most of whom want to serve people and are doing so under increasingly difficult circumstances, need our prayers. So do all those precious people who feel betrayed by their church leaders and those who suffered in silence or who, when they spoke up, were shamed, ignored, or marginalized in other ways. The damage is horrific and immeasurable.