Pope Benedict XVI is facing a firestorm from critics as to how much he knew about the Vatican's latest sex abuse scandal. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In the middle of Holy Week and with Easter right around the corner - the Catholic Church is launching a massive P-R blitz to defend the Pope's role in the growing sex abuse scandal. Instead of contrition and asking for forgiveness, get a load of the following:
The Vatican is pushing back against the idea that Pope Benedict the 16th should take personal responsibility for the child abuse scandal... and it's defending his management of abuse cases. Some Catholic officials are suggesting it was the previous Pope, John Paul the Second, who blocked investigations into pedophile priests.
And the Vatican is planning a legal defense against an American lawsuit... that would force the Pope to answer questions under oath. The A-P reports court documents related to a Kentucky case show Vatican lawyers plan to argue the Pope has immunity as head of state and that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican.
It gets worse:
In the Pope's native Germany, the church has opened a hotline for victims to report alleged crimes. Critics are outraged... saying that victims should tell the authorities first, not the church.... They have a point, considering that the Catholic Church has done virtually nothing except shuffle abusive priests around and cover-up the scandal for decades. Including a priest who molested 200 deaf boys. The church did nothing.
Meanwhile a new Gallup poll shows Pope Benedict's favorable rating has dropped to 40 percent in the U.S–its lowest level ever.... that's down from 63% two years ago. The Pope's image has declined about equally among Catholics and non-Catholics.
Here’s my question to you: Would the Catholic Church benefit from forcing Pope Benedict out?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jim in Reno, Nevada
Jack, John Paul II did cover up sexual abuse, but that probably won't stop the Church from making him a saint. The Church would benefit from the removal of the current pope only if the new pope was a kick-ass reformer determined to clean the windows and let the light shine in. As long as the Church's instinctive response to scandal remains covering up, a new pope will do no good.
Olga in Austin, Texas
Who cares? Their behavior is not going to stop. My entire family was raised Catholic. As the atrocious sex crimes were reported through the years, one by one, we left the Catholic Church.
Charles in New Jersey
Maybe naive people, like anyone who uses the Catholic hotline, would feel vindicated, but selecting a fall guy for decades (centuries?) of rape, torture and conspiracy to obstruct justice is a placebo no one should accept. Since justice is unavailable from a foreign country like the Vatican, a boycott is in order. No more tithing or sending our kids to Catholic schools, or "faith based" contracts. Drive them to extinction like any other evil corporation, an irony that Darwin would love. Snatch the opium from the lips of fools, they will thank you later.
Bret in Ohio
The Catholic Church would do well to out the current pope and any member of the church involved in the sexual abuse of anyone. If head of a religion and the supposed closest person to God is covering up sex scandals with children, what kind of credibility does this bring to the religion? At this rate, Catholicism is about as credible as Scientology, only without the pretty celebrities.
Harold in Anchorage, Alaska
I don't think it will make much difference. It seems like it is disintegrating from within. The Roman Catholic Church is organized much like the Mafia, with omerta at the core, and the same goal: gaining and retaining power, regardless of the human cost.