Scandal is too mild a term to describe the abuse of children at the hands Roman Catholic priests. But whatever word you fix on – “atrocity”, “obscenity”, I can’t find the right one – you cannot doubt that rape was all about power, as the feminists of the 1970s once said. The power of the old to groom and force themselves on the young was complemented by the power of the Vatican to protect rapists from justice and cover up their crimes.
If the church believed its own doctrine, one might have expected the papacy to show a smidgen of contrition and to seek repentance. After presiding as Cardinal Ratzinger over a parallel justice system in which there was one law for his church and another for everyone else, however, Pope Benedict XVI is showing that he will forgive his own sins but learn nothing from them.