Sinead O’ConnorShould Pope Benedict XVI resign or
is he the key to resolving the problems of clerical sex offenders? The
editors of the National Catholic Register
have scoured the international
media to show whom you are siding with, and whose “facts” you
are trusting, when you take a stand: 

The pundits tell us that lots of
people think that Pope Benedict should resign over the Church’s handling
of clerical sex-abuse allegations.
They’re quoting authorities, of course.
Mehmet Ali Agca, fresh out of prison for his failed assassination attempt
on Pope John Paul II, told journalists on March 29,
“I want the Pope to resign.” Singer Sinead O’Connor, now remembered
chiefly for having torn up a photo of John Paul II on
“Saturday Night Live” in 1992, has been calling for the Pope’s
resignation since December. Atheist author Christopher
Hitchens, writing for Slate, labels him a
“mediocre Bavarian bureaucrat”
and calls for “justice” to be done on him. Minnesota lawyer Jeff
Anderson, who has won a dozen multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the
Church but says “it’s not about the money,”
told Al-Jazeera that he hopes to “hear a jail door clang behind”
the Pope. 

Standing firmly behind the current
Pope’s leadership, integrity, competence on the pedophile issue are
multitudes of cardinals and bishops from around the world, including
some of the Catholic Church’s most respected names (some of more “liberal”
theological views, some more “conservative”). They quote recent
public remarks in support of Benedict XVI by Cardinal Walter Kasper,
Westminster Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet,
and many others. 

Any bishop could become a media
darling overnight — and get his name floated as a possible John
Paul III — by breaking ranks and criticizing the Holy Father.
No one has. We think that’s revealing. 

They predict, in fact, that if Benedict
XVI did resign and a new conclave was called, the Cardinals huddled
in the Sistine Chapel would re-elect Joseph Ratzinger as pope, and probably
with an even stronger show of support than during his 2005 election
to succeed John Paul II. Why?  

Bishops worldwide are watching the
headlines just as anxiously as anyone else. The Church has lost credibility,
and they’re the ones who have the most at stake in restoring it. And
they are all saying the same thing: The Churchman with the best track
record and the most pastoral sensitivity in handling these cases is
named Ratzinger. 

The newspaper suggest that the Pope
is in fact prevailing against the accusations by some media outlets: 

Süddeutsche Zeitung and The New York Times have fueled a media frenzy
over two horrific cases that “must have”
crossed Cardinal Ratzinger’s desk. Their shrillness obscures one simple
fact: In neither the horrific Murphy case in Wisconsin nor the tragic
Hullermann affair in Munich has a single shred of paper surfaced with
Cardinal Ratzinger’s signature on it.  

No evidence has been produced to
disprove the Vatican’s statement that Cardinal
Ratzinger knew nothing of the decision to reassign sexual predator Father
Peter Hullermann to pastoral duties, and commentators from Father Raymond
de Souza to George Weigel to the Register’s Jimmy Akin (March 30 and
April 1) have demonstrated the blatant inaccuracy of the Times’
reporting on the Murphy case. 

And it is not just the bishops, but
Catholics at large who in significant numbers recognize the situation
for what it is:  

Credit should go to Cardinal
Ratzinger for helping the Church in America deal with abuse allegations
and protect children better. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan got a
20-second standing ovation during his Palm Sunday homily for claiming
just that. He made reference to last week’s report that only six credible
cases of clerical sexual abuse were reported in the United States last
year: “The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United
States has made — documented again just last week by the report made
by independent forensic auditors —
could never have happened without the insistence and support of the
very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.” 

The article concludes by noting: 

So there’s a massive disconnect
here. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes that
“Benedict should go home to Bavaria,” 
while the world’s bishops think he should stay right where he is. 


Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.