E. J. Dionne has the same kind of delusions about the Catholic Church that David Frum has about the Republican party:
The church needs to cast aside the lawyers, the PR specialists and its own worst instincts, which are human instincts. Benedict could go down as one of the greatest popes in history if he were willing to risk all in the name of institutional self-examination, painful but liberating public honesty, and true contrition.
And then comes something even harder: Especially during Lent, the church teaches that forgiveness requires Catholics to have “a firm purpose of amendment.” The church will have to show not only that it has learned from this scandal, but also that it’s truly willing to transform itself.
Of course, this will never happen. The Catholic Church is a right-wing organization, as Andrew Sullivan has pointed out, as is the Republican party, of course. And that’s just how right-wing organizations operate. They don’t backtrack or apologize. In many ways, that’s a strength. But it certainly means they’re never going to come clean about anything.
Mary Ann Sorrentino (how’s that for a Catholic name!) says more or less the same thing — that there will be no major resignations or apologies. I like this in her article:
A quarter-century ago — at a time when about 10 priests in Rhode Island had already been accused of sexually abusing children — the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence tried to stop my then-14-year-old daughter from making her confirmation because of her mother’s work with Planned Parenthood. When that conversation took place in our pastor’s office (and was taped by me), I was also told not to come to the rail, since I’d been excommunicated for that work.
“Let me understand this, Father. Because of my work with women at Planned Parenthood, you don’t want me to come to the rail and take communion from the hands of a man who sexually abuses children? Is that what you’re telling me, Father?”