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Gee, I dunno. Does the Pope wear a funny hat? After reading Adele Stan's piece in Alternet, I have to wonder whether Pope Benedict was worried about being indicted as part of the sex-crime cover-ups in the Los Angeles archdiocese:
Citing age and infirmity as his reason for leaving the papacy, Benedict's action comes just weeks after he opened his celebrated Twitter account -- and less than a month after the decades-old child abuse scandal drew nearer to the pope's door, with revelations published in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that Cardinal Roger Mahony, then Archbishop of Los Angeles, sought to evade the law in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by the priests in his charge by sending them to treatment facilities in states that did not require health professionals to report the crimes to authorities.
At the time that Mahony was covering up the crimes of his priests, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that oversaw such matters.
In archdiocese documents released under a court order earlier this month, Mahony is revealed to have taken actions deliberately contrived to avoid legal prosecution of priests who had sexually abused -- and even raped -- children. The documents were so damaging that Mahony, now retired and once thought to be a contender for the papacy, was publicly rebuked by the current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, and stripped of any public duties, an unprecedented censure of a cardinal archbishop by his successor.
Amid the cache of church records, released as part of a settlement between the archdiocese and 500 sex-abuse victims, are several letters to Ratzinger from Mahoney, in which the California prelate reports to the Vatican his reasons for various actions (such as defrocking) taken against the offending priests. The records amount to some 30,000 pages, so their full contents have yet to be pored through by investigators and journalists.
Ruh roh, Reorge! Sounds like the Pope is scooting while the scooting is good! Maybe he's hoping he gets to die at home, ahead of the indictments.
It's really a shame that the Catholic Church, which once did some real good in the world before it locked its identity to that of the right wing, is going to lose what little credibility it had left with this latest sex scandal.
As the article points out, the same Church which bent over backwards to avoid investigating and punishing sex crimes was no slouch when it came to going after nuns and priests who weren't all that convinced about abortion or female ordination -- but especially those who weren't up to snuff when it came to stamping out the "intrinsic evil of homosexual activity."
Except, of course, for the priests who were raping altar boys. Apparently there's an exemption for that.
I've been saying for a while that I expect to see the establishment of a breakaway Catholic Church in America. There are too many living Catholics who remember the positive message of Vatican II and Pope John XXIII. They liked it, they want it back. I believe one day they'll get it.
The rumors are flying about possible replacements for Benedict. The thing you need to know is, Pope John Paul II spent 30 years purging the leadership ranks of anyone who was remotely liberal, and so the cardinals are all hard-core conservatives -- including one African cardinal, Cardinal Peter Turkson, whose name comes up frequently.
Here's where it might get tricky: The same conservative American Catholics who also subscribe to the Republican party philosophies of life might have a teensy, weensy problem with the idea of a black pope. (After all, Colin Powell turned out to be a turncoat!) You never know. Pull up a chair, it might get interesting.