Church's Problem Is the Cover-Up, Not PR

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I am not a Catholic; I am a Protestant. But I have long admired the Catholic Church as the repository of knowledge through so much of history, and with the Jewish faith, for shaping the values on which Western civilization is built.

We are all the product of those values, so we can only feel remorse as we watch the spectacle in which the church finds itself embroiled at, of all times, the holiest week of both great religions.

Eight years ago - and yes, it has been that long - I wrote that the cover-up of child molester priests had no place in theology but everything to do with bureaucracies that grow so old and large and out-of-touch that they lose all sense of accountability.

I said then that aging leaders had put their own survival ahead of the church's reason for being, and in the process had forgotten the church's own history. It was resistance to reform, after all, that led to Protestantism.

How the church organizes itself - whether priests should marry and so on - is the church's business, not mine. But child abuse is everyone's business.

The church's problem is not public relations as some of its leaders want to believe, but the cover-up of vile criminal acts.

Until the church bureaucracy truly comes to terms with that, at whatever cost, and again places its reason for being ahead of the survival of its leaders, the church as an institution remains at risk.

People will seek God in many ways, but never in ways that endanger their children.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.