As an admirer of the Catholic Church, I ask this question in sadness and in dismay, but it must be asked. Why church leaders, why are they trying to make this latest scandal so complicated? It isn't.
The rules of the Catholic Church -- celibacy, should priests marry, should women be barred from the priesthood -- that's not my business. That's the business of Catholics, and it can be as theologically nuanced as they care to make it.
But protecting children from sexual predators is everyone's business, and it's not at all complicated. It is wrong and must be stopped. It requires no further study, no blue-ribbon commissions, no convoluted explanations. A few simple sentences will do just fine.
Anyone who harms a child shall be removed from the church and reported to the police. Anyone who shall harm a child in the past should be removed from the church and reported to the police. Anyone who knows of anyone who has harmed a child and tried to cover it up shall be removed from the church and reported to the police. Period.
When reform requires long explanations, it usually isn't reform, it's an excuse. There is a fine set of guidelines already available for those who will decide church policy: the 10 commandments, not just guidelines for content, but for style as well. Short, simple, easy to understand sentences. No question about what they mean. That's what we need here.
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