Conservative US columnist
Michael Gerson has defended Benedict XVI’s record in
the Washington Post. “Far from being indifferent or
complicit, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was among the first in Rome to take
the scandal seriously,” he writes.
Gerson is far from being apologist for the
Catholic Church. He was President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter for
several years and was ranked by Time magazine in 205 as one of “The 25
Most Influential Evangelicals In America”. He criticizes the Catholic
Church for having reduced itself to “to one more self-interested organization”
– in the past.
In case after case, church leaders have
attempted (and failed) to protect the church from scandal — like a White House
trying to contain a bad news story or an oil company avoiding responsibility
for a spill.
However, he says, the
Church confronted the problem directly and has a more open outlook.
story of modern Christian history has been the partial, hopeful movement away
from the religion of the tribe and toward a religion of humanity — a theology
that defends a universal ideal of human rights and dignity, whose triumph
benefits everyone. And the Catholic Church has led this transition. Once a
reactionary opponent of individualism and modernity, it is now one of the
leading global advocates for universal human rights and dignity.
Catholic Church’s initial reaction to the abuse scandal was often indefensible.
Now, through its honesty and transparency, it can demonstrate a commitment to
universal dignity — which includes every victim of abuse.