May 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why taken Catholic Church so long to acknowledge role in child sex abuse?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The pope is finally admitting that the Catholic Church itself is to blame for the worldwide child sex abuse scandal. It took long enough.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/12/art.stained..glass.jpg caption=""]
Pope Benedict XVI calls the crisis "truly terrifying" and suggests "the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church."

Benedict also stresses that quote "forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."

It's refreshing to finally hear the pope talk about this growing crisis head-on. For weeks, as accusations piled up, we've heard other Catholic officials blame anyone but the pedophile priests and officials who covered it all up.

They blamed the media, they blamed homosexuality, and they described the whole affair as "petty gossip."

But thanks in part perhaps to the relentless reporting of the scope of the scandal worldwide by the media, the pope is now talking; and he will likely be controlling the message from here on out.

Hopefully this is a sign that the pope, who's been criticized for not taking enough actions against allegations of abuse, understands how deeply this crisis has affected the Catholic Church. But so far it's just all talk.

Victims groups want more than talk… and rightfully so.

Here’s my question to you: Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Gregory writes:
Hey Jack, If your money supply was slowing down, wouldn't that get your attention too? The Catholic Church is controlled by money; cut the money, change the minds. The Pope ain't dumb, he needs gas for that Pope-Mobile.

Judy in California writes:
Because the vast numbers of abused have been suppressed and silenced for so long through guilt and shame. That has come to a stop by the victims forming groups and speaking out, and finally the media has played a highly important role and bringing this matter to the surface. I guess somebody finally figured out that it is not a sin to defend yourself against these animals.

Meg in Ohio writes:
Jack, The Catholic Church has thought for many years that it not only was infallible, but also untouchable. The media coverage of the abuse issue has forced this disgusting practice out into the sunlight. Now, after years, not weeks, of pressure, the Pope finally realizes that he has a problem of epic proportions on his hands. I'll withhold my praise until I see some prosecutions, defrockings, and actual change.

Brett in California writes:
Admitting that the Catholic Church was guilty of harboring and protecting pedophiles would be bad for business. The Vatican is one of the oldest businesses in the world and expecting it to function as anything else would be unreasonable.

Mike in Florida writes:
Jack, You're talking about an organization that took 400 years to admit that the Earth revolves around the sun! Slow?! This is actually light speed for the Vatican!

Kaye in Arlington, Texas writes:
Because it's simply too hideous.

Filed under: Catholic Church • Children • Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Kathie

    the Catholic church is far too busy guarding its own self interests. What the Catholic church needs is to be indicted for harboring felons and brought to accountability!

    May 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  2. Mark M.

    We are talking about the same catholic church that finally acknowledged the Copernican/Galilean view of the universe, with the earth revolving around the sun, as being correct at the end of the TWENTIETH century, right?

    Mark M.
    Newmarket, NH

    May 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  3. bonnie from nj

    I believe that this has been going on for many, many years and they were so complacent about they couldn't believe they got caught. Disgusting as it sounds, apparently, pedophiles have long seen the priesthhood as their best option.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  4. Joe - Houston

    You mean the same Catholic Church that massacred the Aztecs and the same Catholic Church that used to burn witches? The same Catholic Church that condemns sex not for the purpose of procreation? Denial isn't just a river.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Did Hitler ever admit he was wrong? People who claim to have the absolute truth are unlikely ever to admit that they don't.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  6. Joe CE

    Because they are out of touch with the public and with reality. The CA cardinal expresses moral outrage at attempts to control illegal immigration – which only benefits explotative employeers but has been out to lunch on the Church's number one moral problem.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  7. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    The last thing you want to do is amit that there is a problem when you are trying to cover it up. I think the catholic church has reached the point where they can no longer hide the fact that they have a serious child abuse problem in the church. The cat has been out of the bag for a long time. It took the church this long to realize it.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Ed from MD

    Jesus talked about that. He rebuked the priests for cleaning the outside of the cup and not the inside of the cup. Now the dirty stuff on the inside of the cup is running over so fast they have no choice but to acknowledge it. But by keeping the outside of the cup clean they were able to avoid dealing with the inside until it was past full.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm |

    tampa, fl why not ask why the tobacco industry still sells cigarettes? people are starting to question the catholic church on many issues, ultimately ending up in court looking for our court system to explain just why a supreme, all knowing being allows allows so much misery with no one being punished. me being an atheist already know why, too many people still believe in the ponzi scheme known as religion to rule their lives, as they blindly follow these hucksters to the grave without questioning the obvious. i also have a bridge in brooklyn for sale in brooklyn for those that are interested.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  10. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Nothing happen in the Catholic Church fast. It was decades before their ignoring Nazi atrocities were acknowledged. Pedophilia is just a continuation of the churches ways

    May 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  11. tannerie delray beach,fl

    Absolute stupidity

    May 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  12. Kim S. Dodge City, Ks.

    The Catholic Church has been bullying it's followers with guilt trips since it's inception, so it is very afraid to have to suffer any guilt of it's own. The Pope knows that their power lies in producing fear and guilt to those who can not reason clearly for themselves, and by admitting sex crimes they lose that power and will eventually fade away.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  13. Lou Mullin

    The Catholic church is behaving about this problem like the Congress is behaving about immigration. Look the other way and maybe it will vanish. If you ignore it long enough, everyone will grow up and the priest will vanish to Jemez Springs Priest home in New Mexico and there will be no more problem. The Pope just hopes it goes away until he retires or dies.

    May 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  14. Sittingbull

    Because homosexuality has been a part of the Catholic church for so long that it was looked upon as a natural thing a carrie over from the pagan times of the church and no one dared to speak up about for fear of ex -communication as if that's a bad thing from that group .

    May 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Nancy in Seabrook Texas

    Most attorneys refuse to talk publicly about the clients they represent. Ergo, priests hesitate or refuse to talk about situations they have learned the the confidential trust of the priesthood. Priests, however, can take action if their authority allows them to remove the priest from the situation. That is when they transfer or send to a rehabilitation facility. Historically it has not been known if pedophiles can be cured.

    The Church has given money to enable the victims to get counseling. The damages have gotten very large due to people lying or exaggerating situations. This is such a scandal in the Church. It is a very hard crime to prove. Some people believe this is a sort of infiltration among priests who did not have a true vocation. Some claim it is a deliberate conspiracty to bring the Church down.

    I support the Catholic Church in all matters of Faith and Morals.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  16. Terry Hampshire, Tn.

    I became a Catholic at 16 years old. I am now almost 63. I do not have any respect for any "religious" institution that harms children in such a horrid way and then protects those same religious leaders.I believe in God and Christ, but I cannot believe such ministers as those have the right to speak for God or Christ. No longer a Catholic!

    May 12, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  17. Weldon from Canada

    Maybe it has something to do with those that hold the top positions within the Church. As long as you can deflect the blame to those below them, they will continue.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  18. David Gerstenfeld

    Is that a rhetorical question Jack ?

    David, Las Vegas

    May 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  19. Mark Northern PA

    Jack, the Answer is the same as it would be for any large organization or coorporation dealing with cooruption from within. Look at the way the Congress deals with the issue and you see the same thing. Congressmen abusing page boys, interns, men in bathrooms, denying they are gay etc. etc. In congress they may have to resign, but they don't go to jail. People in power never think they will be caught, and child abuse is no exception. It happens in religion, Government, and in many places where there are people who have power over others. The incidents within the Catholic church are no higher than the general population or in any other denomination, but we expect more from a world class organization dedicated to following the teachings of Jesus and therfore think they should act differently. You have to remember the church including priests is a group of sinners looking for forgiveness.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  20. Brad

    The reason it's taken so long for them to acknowledge it is because the Catholic Church is finally loosing some of its influence around the world. For hundreds of years it's been one of the world's leading religions, making it so powerful that no one is able to just get rid of it. Take for example a cult that sprung up a few years ago in the southern US (it's name escapes me at the moment) ; they had abused a few hundred children, and were all arrested, whereas the Catholic Church has abused thousands of children for hundreds of years, and they have their own city within Rome dedicated to and governed by them.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  21. Bertina

    Until the pope admits his own failures and actually does something about it then it still is taking too long.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  22. Linda in Arizona

    Umm... because they're guilty, they know it, and they are inveterate liars? Just guessing here.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  23. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    The modern world is on a 24 hour news cycle that measures time in nanoseconds. The Church was created to measure time by the precession of the equinox. Literally!
    Now that the sun has risen in the constellation of Aquarius we might see things move in a more FLUID timeline...or, they might lay down besides still waters, and try to sleep it off. In any event, the churches perspective of the time involved to address sexual abuse is vastly different from everyone elses. At long last the church has seen the error of its ways. It's their job to take responsibility for the sins of humanity. That should include priests, (even when falsely accused.) just as Jesus did to the very end.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  24. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, the Catholic Church has never acted quickly, but rather only after careful deliberation. Too many people are just in it for the money when they talk about suing the Church. Were we to examine the problem of child molestation without expecting the worst of the Church, we might find out that priests are not the majority of abusers. A high number are relatives, and there is even the case of the Boy Scout leader that was briefly in the news not that long ago. Sadly, not enough focus will be on molesters who are NOT priests, and that means too many pedophiles will escape punishment in this life.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  25. Gregory Tripp, Mechanicsburg, PA

    The Catholic Church has not been a friend to mankind, historically speaking. Like any bureaucratic institution, it tries its best to cover up mistakes. You know, like crucifying people for believing that the world was round and not the center of the universe or for practicing witchcraft. I place my faith in God, not in any manmade institution. I have not been let down yet.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  26. Gail, Plano TX

    You are wrong, Jack. Some priests have been imprisoned as a result of their molestation of boys in the church. Father John Kagan was killed by an inmate while in prison, which was a good thing. So some have been punished.
    Now, as to why it has taken the church so long to acknowledge their guilt in the scandal, the church is a business like any other. All they want is your money. I think a better question might be, why does the Pope live in such splendor while so many people are living in poverty? Nice gig if u can get it!

    May 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  27. Mr D

    Thankfully, journalism is alive and well at least in some parts of the world. You can only deny things for so long and this acknowledgment is long overdue. Apparently the church has been able to put up with "truly terrifying" behavior for as long as we can remember. Good things come to those who wait.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  28. Mari

    As a cradle Catholic, I know that the Catholic church's hierarchy is steeped in cronyism and the good-old-boys-club! The hierarchy wont admit there is a problem unless we, the laity, protest loud and clear.

    However, in defense of my church, I say that we are no different from other churches or institutions, pedophilia is every where.

    The media has blown this crisis out of proportion, ignoring all the good that the Catholic church does!

    Here are some little known facts about the Catholic church:

    We have 637 non-profit hospitals in the U.S. who treat anyone, not just Catholics.

    We have 230 colleges and universities enrolling, 700,000 students.

    ONLY 1% OF CATHOLIC PRIESTS HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF PEDOPHILIA. YES, 1% IS TOO MUCH....... however, we are not the only church with problems!

    May 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  29. Lia in Bradenton

    For centuries, the inherently secretive nature of the church's leadership has allowed it to control and hearts, minds and pocketbooks of its followers. Just as Iranians are growing quite in tolerant of their Muslim theocracy, Catholics are hungry for a church that is neither hypocritical nor dictatorial.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  30. Kevin

    I've been waiting since 1954 for some pope, cardinal or bishop to act honestly and none ever has. With all the popes and the rest as role models, I've long lost any sense of what christian means. If you want to understand "secrecy" just think that not one catholic church principle has broken ranks and come forward with the truth, to be on the side of the congregation. Thanks to the press–and please don't fool yourself into thinking the pope has finally seen the light and is coming forward –thank to the press, we may find out more truths. Next is Africa and South America. Priest child abuse is everywhere.

    Can profoundly sinful popes go to hell like the rest of us go for our sins?

    May 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  31. Jeff in Minnesota

    Let's see ... Established religous group that is entrusted with protecting children ends up instead abusing them. You think you'd want to stand up and admit to it, particularly after you let it go on for a couple of generations or more and your leader may be involved up to their neck in the issue? No. Human nature would be to try and sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible like they have in the past. Unfortuantely, the jig is up and they now have to deal with it.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  32. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    I wonder how many of those so highly critical of Tiger Woods yesterday will be so critical of the members of the clergy who have strayed. Remember they strayed with the very young, not "camp followers" It is not only priests, but none ever get the prison time other pedifiles get, or the life sentance. Lets have a little equality here. I don't understand pedifiles, but adultry is directly in porportion to oportunity. There is a difference.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  33. Wade in USA

    I could care less what the church is saying. I want to know what prison these criminals are going to be sent to.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  34. Rob Fuller

    As a victim in CA, I can say why. Secrecy in settlement agreements.. Yes I recieved a substantial settlement...30 years later. The man who did it was reassinged to a place in Chicago called the Tolton Center, near a high school! In my case I INSISTED on there not being a secrecy clause, with the hope others might come forward. Power corrupts, and the church is no exception. Their motto is blame the victim and hope the faithful stay that way.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  35. Simon/Orlando

    Let's face it. This has been going on for thousands of years. They would not ackowledge it because they didn't have to. Until recently they had to much influence and control over their parishoners who feared retribution.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  36. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    It took the Catholic Church 1100 years before Pope Benedict VIII decided that all priest must be celibate. This was to protect church property from being handed down to children of priests and bishops. Pope Benedict XVI is acting on a long tradition of waiting to understand the financial impact on the church before making any decisions. I would assume that many Catholics are withholding their contributions and many have left the church over the sexual abuse issues. It is difficult to develop new churches with the sexual abuse issue hanging over the heads of the church leaders. A decision had to be made to protect the financial position of the church. Don't forget that the Pope wears Prada.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  37. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Well "Do as I say, not as I do" seems to be the message from Rome. They've know about this for years, decades! How can you follow, let alone believe, in a church that has a double standard and seems to try to protect its own.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  38. Dana Clark- Livingston Mt.

    Because they have needed to maintain an image in the eyes of the rest of the world that they are something other than human and imperfect like the rest of us. Some people, present and past, have always seen them for what they really are: mere men in positions of power because of peoples blind faith. Catholic followers, in turning a blind eye have enabled these men to get away with the mascaraed for centuries now.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  39. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    well it is clear...It took so long because it takes longer for an institution and the people inside the institution to relate to realities outside the institution even if the realities were created from the inside of the institution!

    Now, it just needs to relate beyond words!

    May 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  40. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    Because things move slowly in the Catholic church. It took over three centuries to acknowledge that Galileo was right.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  41. Susan from Idaho

    this is the most dysfunctional organization I know of. they preach like hell against abortion or birth control but do what ever you want with the poor little waifs after they're born. Why don't the followers wake up and smell the coffee?

    May 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  42. GA Vet

    Because they could get away with it.

    The Catholic supreme court probably won't pressure them much but their tax exemption should be revoked. As far as I know they are the only criminal organization who has one.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  43. Betty Withers

    It means that despite the extreme fear mongering, wild rants and blatant exaggerations those pushing this have managed to persuade only an additional 8% of the American people. They underestimated the American people; perhaps they all listened to the law enforcement officials who stressed over and over to the Arizona people that this was the wrong thing to do. I did.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  44. Ken

    I don't think the church was aware of how extensive the problem was until Pope Benedict got as involved as he has. Sadly, a good part of it was the misguided attempts of priests and bishops to conceal the problem thinking it was protecting the church. Instead it was a festering sore that continued to infect the body.

    The point being made about the media biais was valid to an extent in that many accounts of crimes, that had been known for years, were dragged out as something new over and over again for purpose of making headlines.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  45. John from San Antonio

    The CEO of the catholic church is no different than the CEO of any corporation. when their profits and/or power are thereatened you will see action.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  46. Jesse Canada

    Hi Jack,

    Most of my friends are only Catholic in name... most don't trust the church and don't believe in their out dated values.

    Most of all they are all shocked that the Catholic Church would run to the Pope's defence so fast but not to the 1000's of children who were being abused. They all see the church now as a business that is scared to lose their revenue line.

    Vancouver Canada

    May 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  47. Angie

    Everyone, everywhere wants to know the answer to that one.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  48. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    At first they were hoping it would just go away and that Catholics worldwide would be satisfied with "business as usual." That didn't happen. The public is outraged and more educated than ever. They want accountability and justice for all of these young lives ruined. The people in the church hierarchy lived high off the people's money long enough – now pay up! If there is no action taken to rectify the situation the the Bishop's Annual Appeal will be falling shorter than ever in years to come. These demigods will never be able to regain the power they have lost by their actions,lies and coverups so they may as well come clean.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  49. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Just look at the advanced age and declining mental capabilities of the newest Pope.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  50. honest john in vermont

    Because the Catholic Church is still in the Dark Ages when they could do whatever they liked.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  51. Craig in Illinois

    The Catholic Church reminds me of a bunch of so-called CONservatives who claim to be holier than thou. When they get caught with their "pants" down they look for scapegoats.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  52. Doris Lauter

    It has taken this long because they swept it under the rug for fear of being caught, and ruin their reputation. Once they were caught, they had to acknowledge it.
    Ojai, California

    May 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  53. John Geheran


    A monumental failure of leadership....makes the Inquisition look almost benign by comparison. A sorely disappointed Catholic...

    J Geheran
    Southborough, MA

    May 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  54. Overby from Melbourne

    These are people that like to dress up in flowing robes and funny hats. What normal person would be attracted to that? They held out for as long as they could in order to get away with it and stay out of prison where they belong.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  55. Wayne from New Brunswick Canada

    What is so hard to figure out? For many decades past, homosexuals were greatly persecuted and ridiculed. Many saw the priesthood as a way out and a way to be secure and respectable. But testosterone has the effect of making men take risks for sex and many of these homosexual priests found the lure of handsome boys to be irresistable. So you can blame straight society for the disproportionate number of homosexual priests and a problem much greater than it would be otherwise. So obviously the Catholic church is not eager to acknowledge the large number of homosexual priests in its ranks because Catholicism is anti-homosexual and its hypocracy would be revealed. It all goes back to the persecution of homosexuals and that is why the media will not admit the truth.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  56. Kenneth in the High Desert town of Pinon Hills, California

    If you believe in that religion stuff, they are probably waiting word from above for an answer to the problem. Don't laugh, isn't that what the last President did. That seemed OK for many Americans.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  57. Sue

    Their Church tried everything else. The people are not agreeing with the Pope though.
    He is not God and needs to know that he and his Clergy are not going to get by with molesting children or anyone else.
    The followers are tired of this crap and will now fight against it.
    They now know that the way they were raised was not carved in stone.
    It is not how Jesus would want the Church to be run.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  58. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    Why you ask? People seldom hesitate to speak of the subject. The 24 hour news cycle and the Internet allows news and comment to instantly be transmitted everywhere. We can make comments on line without anybody knowing who says what. I work with a very strict holier than thou Catholic who believes his church can do no wrong. Nobody in the office dare say anything negative about the church or he will go balistic. But we fear not using the Internet to make comments.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  59. Ralph Spyer

    The Catholic church did not ackowledge that the earth went around the sun till 1900, the Catholic church invented water boarding in Spain to help the Jews have faith in Jesus. The Catnolic Church help many German war veterans start a new life in Argentina . The Catholic Church has always help women in getting equity except in the priesthood. Sex abuse and the acknowledgement we will pray that the children do not need a LAWER

    May 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  60. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    An attorney has studied the law and priest study the teachings of the Almighty. It appears the Catholic Church allowed mans law to override their teachings by protecting the priests who sexually abused children.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  61. Judy - California

    Because the vast numbers of abused have been suppressed and silenced for so long through guilt and shame. That has come to a stop by the victims forming groups and speaking out, and finally the media has played a highly important role and bringing this matter to the surface. I guess somebody finally figured out that it is not a sin to defend yourself against these animals.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  62. Meg from Troy

    The Catholic Church has thought for many years that it not only was infallible, but also untouchable. The media coverage of the abuse issue has forced this disgusting practice out into the sunlight. Now, after years, not weeks, of pressure, the Pope finally realizes that he has a problem of epic proportions on his hands. I'll withhold my praise until I see some prosecutions, defrockings, and actual change.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  63. Michael in Phoenix

    They are turning the other cheek and hoping it will go away.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  64. Joseph Leff

    It's all about money, Jack. Now that the victims ares peaking out, as senior Catholic officials feared, it's going to cost the church money and members. A better question to ask might be - why must priests be celibate in the first place? The church didn't start out that way.

    Joe in Delray Beach, FL

    May 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  65. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    It has taken the Church so long because of the lack of true motivation until now.

    Not motivation to put virtue ahead of policy, not motivation to live ethical lives, not motivation to heal the wounds of the oppressed, not even the motivation to appease God, but mankind's greatest motivator..........money.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  66. Burbank

    Part of the reason it's taken so long besides the obvious shame aspect is that this organization that is riddled with child molesters will have a hard time justifying being able to dictate to other Catholics what they can and can't do with their sex lives, especially in regards to using birth control to prevent pregnancies a family can't afford. The Church doesn't care a bit if these unwanted children get enough to eat, it's a big business organization and they only care about making more Catholics since it's become exceedingly hard to convert anyone anymore.
    The pedophilia problem is much more widespread than they want anyone to know. I myself was attacked by a pedophile priest in my own home as a young girl and my next door neighbor was attacked by a completely different priest as an altar boy.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  67. Ken

    I can't help asking: Why did it take the media so long to only partially break it's silence? It took until the nineties to admit that boys are sexually abused and that women sexually abuse children. Well here's the truth gang. Boys are sexually abused as much as girls, probably more; mothers rape, beat and even kill children. Nuns sexually abuse children and are as liable to be violent to them as any priest. The feminists (Feminuts) have always known this. So have the politicians, the media, the cops and the mental health system. Why did they all conspire to keep it a deep, dark secret for so long, even today not acknowledging the full scale of it? There's the truth. Do you dare read this on the air or are you too afraid of all the great "equals" out there.
    Ken, Montreal

    May 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  68. Anony Mous from Birmingham

    It means that so many in the Catholic hierarchy are guilty - either by actively molesting children or by complicity due to their silence. This is an unconscionable situation. The priest is the stand-in for Christ in confession. What was I to think, when, as a young and innocent girl, I was kissed on the lips twice during confession. Once by a priest, once by a Monsignor. Later, as these molestations of children came to light, I had no doubt of their veracity.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  69. Ken in NC

    Jack, the Pope has tried praying this problem away and everytime he opens his eyes it's staring him in the face. You also have to consider his age. At his age, he reads slower than you or I so now that he has finished reading the problem he has decided on a plan of action, I think.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  70. Marv in Florida

    Jack –

    From a Christian point of view – these scandals have shaken the very foundation of what the Catholic Church, the Bible, and God are supposed to stand for. Not that scandal is new news and surprisingly the church has not lost a lot of parishioners.

    As Christians we are supposed to acknowledge our sin, confess it, and as Jesus urged the woman who was to be stoned to death by the scribes and Pharisees – “go and sin no more.”

    Admitting hypocrisy and accepting humility are tough pills to swallow.

    Paying financial penance to those abused may be even tougher.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  71. Bree of New York City

    Well, Jack, how long did it take the Catholic church to officially acknowledge that the Earth is, in fact, not the flat center of the Universe? That timeline can probably act as a good model for how speedy the Vatican is with apologies.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  72. Kaye Hutchins

    Because it's simply too hideous.
    Arlington, TX

    May 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  73. Nina

    That's obvious...they hoped that if they waited long enough ignoring the issue, it would just go away. I guess that was a successful strategy for the church before the days of global medic coverage.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  74. Annie, Atlanta

    Because there are people in this world who think they’re so above the fray they find it hard to accept blame for anything. Like you said, he tried to point fingers everywhere else first, just to see if anything would stick, and get him off the hot seat. People like him make me sick. How he wound up the head of the Catholic Church is beyond me.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  75. mike in FL

    Jack, you're talking about an organization that took 400 years to admit that the Earth revolves around the sun! Slow?! This is actually light speed for the Vatican!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  76. Gregory

    Hey Jack, if your money supply was slowing down wouldn't that get your attention to. The Catholic church is controlled by money cut the money change the minds. Pope ain't dumb he needs gas for that popemobile.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  77. Bill_From_Effingham

    The Pope hasn't done anything because he is part of it. With his brother a prime sex abuse suspect, the pope doesn't do anything because they will release evidence about him if he does. If he travels outside of the make-believe country of Vatican City, he should be arrested.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  78. Jerry in Montana

    The Catholic Church doesn't realize that great organizations, like great companies, admit their mistakes early and recall the product. But the Church resembles BP and Toyota by trying to cover up the problem as long as they can and then make only as much restitution as they are forced to do.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  79. Bill

    Because the Catholic church has this nasty habit of moving slowly on anything of importance, from the idea that the earth was the center of the universe to evolution to the current sexual abuse scandal. They are an archaic organization operating at an archaic pace.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  80. Allen In Hartwell GA

    I think it's because the Catholic Church sees the Pope, the Church, and by extension, all the priests, bishops, Cardinals, etc., as infallible. By admitting that some of the priests, ...., are not infallible, it means that we can infer that the Pope and the Catholic Church also are not infallible.

    Well Mr. Pope, welcome to the real world where the sinners live. Now get your house in order.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  81. Greg M.

    I think the Church has been trying to decide whether these priests are sinning or not.Since the Commandment does not say 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife's CHILDREN' the Church is consulting lawyers about the legalities of the issue.
    Greg M. Largo,FL (raised Catholic)

    May 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  82. Zolicon

    It has taken them this long,Because they believe that they are liken unto God's.They believe that they are God's choosen People,And that they are above the rest of Humanity.
    They are Decieved into believing that they are Incapable of Sin,And Are Sin Free.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  83. Jerry

    There have been off-color stories form nearly, ever about Priests and Altar Boys. One must wonder how high this abuse goes and how far back. Who was it, St. Peter?, who started the Cathholic church? Is pedaphilia a part of the religeon?

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  84. Brett from California

    Admitting that the Catholic Church was guilty of harboring and protecting pedophiles would be bad for business. The Vatican is one of the oldest businesses in the world and expecting it to function as anything else would be unreasonable.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  85. Bill in Alabama

    The church has NOT taken responsibility. The pope still thinks of the calls for justice as "persecution of the church.'

    A tad better than 'petty gossip," but not "accepting responsibility.".

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  86. Pete

    I feel like people are dancing around the issue–maybe someone should go out and finally arrest somebody. If this was you or me, we'd be rotting in a jail cell by now, but it seems that religious "leaders" can get away with this stuff because their "calling" renders them untouchable. Whether you're a minister or you're the Pope, if your hands are in this scandal, you're a criminal, regardless of your position or faith. The question isn't why hasn't the Catholic Church acknowledged the situation–that's irrelevant. Why haven't authorities acted?

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  87. Keith

    Historically the catholic chruch has always shied away from internal problems, they are a sect that pledges to protect itself above anything else and this self preservation I feel has, if not created, stimulated a lot of the corruption in the church.
    Bronx, NY

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  88. Al Bledsoe

    Softball question, but, thanks, The Catholic Church is the capital of false religion condemned by the word of God. Just take Jesus denunciation of the pharisees and just as well could be addressing popes and cardinals. (Matthew 23:13-39) But, the pope has had an epiphany: their faults are within. Being false to the true Christian Way taught by Jesus, the Catholic Church cannot reason its way out of a paper bag.

    Al Bledsoe
    Dallas, TX

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  89. James- Massachusetts

    The church has had their heads in the sand for decades. They fail to modernize and it may be their refusal to allow preists to marry which is contributing to this problem. The church ignores all their problems. They refuse to bend on the celibate requirement for preists, their recruitment is way down because nobody wants to remain celebate and they wonder why they have these problems. There's no excuse for the church to be sweeping this under the rug but I suspect there are many things the church knows that they hold closely away from the public.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  90. Mary

    Jack, as the victim of catholic (lower case "c" is quite deliberate, as they do not merit my respect) clergy sexual abuse, I can tell you that, in response to your question, they simply DO NOT CARE. Only the light shone on them by the media has prompted them to respond with their wish-washy "explanations."

    The church "fathers" try desperately to protect the unborn, but once a child's feet are on the floor, the child is fair game for what they euphamistically call "boundary crossing," or "inappropriate behavior," blah, blah, blah. They are afraid to call it what it is - child rape. The hypocrisy of those church fathers covering it up is as bad as the offense - and they number in the thousands, worldwide.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  91. Bruce Hembruff

    The reason the Catholic Church took so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priest, is the same reason it took Tiger Woods so long to acknowledge his role in the many affairs he was having. All because of the pressure of the press and the fact that you cant hide anything from you guys! Cheers you guys rock at CNN keep up the good work. Ontario, Canada

    May 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  92. Cheryl

    Because they are too busy condemning other issues like illegal immigration and creating safe havens for illegals to be bothered with what they should really be doing. Prosecuting Priests who also seem to have immunity . Once a Catholic never again.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  93. CJ, Washington, DC

    For the simple reason Jack. It is not easy to practice what you preach

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  94. Dr. Alice Ann Arrowood

    The Catholic church hierarchy including the current pope either do not know or do not care how profoundly damaging emotionally, sexually, and spiritually is the behavior of many priests who have used their position of trust and power to prey on children and the powerless. All who abused and all who failed to report abuse which they know of or suspected should be charged and tried in a court of law. All who have offended in either way should be defrocked. They have hidden behind their power and betrayed their sacred trust. Ironically they did it to "save the reputation of the Catholic Church." How's that working for them?

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  95. Wolfboy

    MONEY!!!!!! If the Catholic church admits that it gives asylum to pedifiles they will lose a lot of their "flock" and it will cut into their cash flow.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  96. Al.ca

    The Catholic Church has been trying to maintain the air on infalibility in order to show the faithful that they are right and in charge. The true religion cant be wrong. They have to be right about everything in order to maintain their "grip" on the flock. Finally coming out and admitting the abuse now probably wouldnt have happened if the Pope's own involvement and knowledge of the abuse had not come to light. Plus, by admitting knowledge of the abuse they are now opening themselves up to lawsuits. It would be sad if the Catholic Church refused to admit the abuse in order to avoid lawsuits...and paying out money in damages. Very sad...if that were the case.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  97. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    The Church took so long because it probably figured that its spin doctors would come up with something that would appease everyone at least for a while. When it realized none of that worked and its flock aren't the "sheep" the Church thought they were (nor is the media), then it decided to finally acknowledge the truth. Now, it's time for the Church to put its money where its mouth is, defrock the pedophiles, and throw them under the jail where they belong.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  98. Terese

    Jack, the only reason the pope is coming out now about the abuse is because he knows that the flock is being deflated. More and more people are becoming independent in their faith. I am an ex Catholic and proud to be. Thirty years ago I predicted this and I am going to make another prediction in that the Vatican will now be a corporation that is losing its power and appeal and in turn they will just be a tourist attraction. People such as myself learned about their devious ways, what they stand for and by God their history!! Jack do a show on the history of the Vatican and open the eyes of some of these staunch die hard Catholics so they understand why do the things they do.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  99. Ray Larson

    The reason the Catholic Church has not dealt with the problem of sex-abuse by clergy sooner is because they continue to have a Good Old Boy System. Main Line protestants faced similair problems 30 years ago and we boys were not allowed to continue sweeping this problem under the rug because women clergy wouldn't allow it to happen. If the Roman Catholic church opened its clergy to women it would be taken care of in a New York minute.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  100. Ed Varchal

    It's business Jack. Any time a big business with a huge revenue stream has a problem that may impact that revenue stream it seems the most common reaction is to try to 'hide the problem'. It is just business, religion does not enter into it.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  101. James

    Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests? Humm well Jack could it be because the Catholic Church doesn't want to? It has a history of blaming others for it's ills instead of facing them head on.They blamed the media for the problem and called it petty gossip.I know of no reporters abusing young boys and gossip never pulled down any little girls panties.Homosexuality?Oh yes among the priests.Too bad Martin Luther isn't still around.I bet he would jump up and down saying see i told you so!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  102. Joanne Hall

    The Catholic Church is a huge network of hierarchies. Hierarchies can be used to keep secrets and enforce silence. Too many priests and bishops were involved, so that they covered up the abuse and then covered up the coverup. FInally the victim's voiceshave become undeniably real so that the church is caving in, because now the calculus has changed and there is even more for the church to lose if they keep denying the abuse. they are not boy scouts here. They are simply losing their grip on this issue.

    Knoxville, TN

    May 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  103. george

    Jack. Wake up. It is mostly a homosexual problem .By conserative estimates over 75% of the abuse was against boys. Forget this pedophile smoke screen.Many of these boys were teenaged at the time of the abuse.The main reason it has taken so long for the pope to speak out is because the church is full of homosexual priests,bishops,and higher up.Why is it that people in the media afraid to use the word homosexual when addressing this issue?At the very least most of the abusers are homosexual pedophiles .

    May 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  104. Pam holt

    Foley, al again our laws aren"t being enforced. If a person, whether religion is involved or not, is aware of a crime and doesn"t report it , they can be in trouble for not reporting it. If what we have heard from the media is true and the pope knew years ago about the sexual abuse of children by that pervert, then by his not disclosing it, made him equally responsible from that point on , for every child molested. Why hasn"t he been arrested? Unless of course someone can show us a law that was passed stating you couldn"t be held accountable for not reporting a crime if you knew about it, if you were a pope or had any other religious title! I will be awaiting for your answer on that, as the job of the media is to make we, the public wiser!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  105. Joe Koechler

    It's simple, Jack. From my vantage point as a Catholic and a resigned and married priest, our bishops, cardinals and popes identify the Church with themselves, the leaders, and ignore the rest of us. When they state that they want to "protect the Church" they mean to protect themselves. Until they understand that the Catholic Church is all of us baptized, we will continue in the current situation. And thank you and all the media for keeping this issue alive until justice and accountability are recognized by the hierarchy, and those responsible are removed. Remember – in the current Catholic Church leadership – authority equals power.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  106. Ann


    It means the church can't confront their transgressions. It's confronting their crimes and taking responsibility for their actions and inactions.

    This should have been handled decades ago. They are loosing support and money, so now they must confront this problem.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  107. Ted hefley

    Jack the church gave up torturing people until they admitted to being witches, burning them alive and then stealing their property Give them a break they are good religious people they have to do something for fun

    May 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  108. ronvan

    Well lets see. There is $$$, then more $$$ and then lots of $$$! It is about time that the catholic church wakes up and realizes that they are NOT the word of God! He lives in all of us, for those of us that beleive, and churches are where we go to worship. NOT to be told that God says this or that. EVERY religion has its own version and interpratation of the teachings & history of religion. I am not an expert but please explain to me how & where the church came up with the celebacy thing?

    May 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  109. Joanne

    The Catholic Church has hidden this scandal to hide another untruth. There is no biblical requirement for priests to remain unmarried.
    Many of Jesus followers and apostles were married.
    Actually, there is no Christian basis for priests either, as all in the Christian congregation are equal..
    Priests are not required to read the bible which should be the basis for their faith and would continually remind them that their acts of fornication are disgusting in God's our Creator's eyes.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  110. John in East Syracuse, New York

    Ironically, the long reluctance to confront the sex abuse scandal is due to the Church's theological hostility toward sexuality in general. Innsistence that procreation is the sole purpise of sex has left the Church blind to the full full potential of sexuality and therefore in denial of both the its full promise and and the real peril. The necessity of facing the realities of priestly misconduct toward children and the Church's dismal response to this problem carries with it an implied mandate to examine the Church's unhealthy practices in related issues such as marriage for clergy, women priests, and theological homophobia. The slowness of the response to the sex abuse scandal signals that this problem was much more tangled up in the ways of the Church hierarchy in general than most people want to admit.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  111. frankie

    Because that's how long they could get away with it. I do not believe the hierarchy is the meaning of the Church, they lost their way.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  112. Jose-Luis from Annapolis, MD

    Jack, do you remember how long it took the church to openly admit they made a mistake by burning Galileo Galilei at the stake?
    500 years!
    Now it is taking them only several weeks to admit that the pedophile abuses by so many priests all over the world are unacceptable.
    This is real progress!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  113. Silas Kain

    Why has it taken so long, Jack? There's one thing that's missing from the entire debate which concerns me and speaks directly to the Church's failure to come clean. There are plenty of people who were in positions of secular authority outside the Church who had full knowledge of what was going on and could have done something about it 50 or 100 years ago. Was it because of the Church's power in the community or were the tentacles of the Church reaching deep into the pockets of those who were silent?

    Since it's become politically popular to bash anything Roman Catholic, it seems to me law enforcement and politicians have been given a free ride. Not so fast. There should be equal outrage for the silence of those who had knowledge but looked the other way. For a society that is allegedly passionate about the separation of Church and state, the "state" has done a horrible job of dispensing equal justice under the law up until now when it comes to pedophile clerics.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  114. Dano_in_NY

    It is because a coverup was institutionalized from the time of John Paul II, and that was that it was more important to protect wrongdoers in the Church, and the institution of the Church itself, than to protect the devoted children of its parishes. Not fixing the problem then as it was occurring created a secondary reason for a coverup, and that was to preserve the financial resources of the church from liability from admitted crimes.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  115. Connie

    The Catholic Church is plain unable to respond to this abuse of children from shear ignorance and the long standing 'power" structure it has created; ie the Pope is infallible and what goes on in the Chruch stays in the church.
    Now the Pope and the Church are forced into accountability. They plain do not know how to look like real people. Their veil of perfection and all knowing has gone and they must admit they are nothing more than men who have an agenda and are looking for a high place in the world. That is why these men cannot admit to being just like the rest of the people. Many are good, many are not. When their own is bad, they find it hard to admit. It is a pretty sad situation. We need them all to repent and give us a chance to pass judgement on them.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  116. Allen In Hartwell GA

    May 12th, 2010 6:18 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I think it's because the Catholic Church sees the Pope, the Church, and by extension, all the priests, bishops, Cardinals, etc., as infallible. By admitting that some of the priests, ...., are not infallible, it means that we can infer that the Pope and the Catholic Church also are not infallible.

    Well Mr. Pope, welcome to the real world where the sinners live. Now get your house in order.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  117. Al Bledsoe

    ...can't handle the truth...

    May 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  118. Joe H

    The Catholic Church has evolved from the time of Christ... into an Institution... and then into a Corporation. Corporate Catholicism is more about the business of the institution than about religion, thus the focus is more spin control than caring for the flock. Really sad… if ever we needed religious leadership rather than corporate coverups. I’m waiting for them to ask for bailout money.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  119. Barry - Ashburn, VA


    Just as there was no reason to expect the child abuse in the Catholic Church was limited to America, there is no reason to believe that it is a new problem. It seems logical to believe that child sexual abuse has existed within the Catholic Church throughout most of its long history. The Catholic Church is a conservative organization in the original sense of the word, i.e., it resists change. After 1000 years or so of a successful cover-up strategy, it must be hard to be the Pope to try something new.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  120. Nancy M., Tennessee

    The Catholic church has always been about protecting its own. Now there are so many people that have spoken out about the abuse that all of it won't fit under the carpet. Now it's a matter of saving their own hides instead of covering someone else's. Like the Bible verse says, "Know ye that your sins will find you out." Looks like the priests would know this truth.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  121. Jim


    The Catholic Church figures it is destined for immortality and answerable only to God. Only the threat of loss of membership and donations can finally upend that kind of arrogance.

    Reno, Nevada

    May 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  122. Berti Katz

    Hey Jack, I think you're great!!!

    I'm still waiting for the Pope to admit his role in covering up the abuses!

    May 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  123. Uncle O

    The reason why the Catholic church is so slack regarding the countless sexual abuse cases is because it is a church that is founded upon lies and corruption. This has always been the case. Just take a glance into history and you will find this to be the case. The church is responsible for millions of innocent lives being snuffed out for the simple reason that they pushed for freedom to worship God under their own convictions.
    The Catholic church takes its claim to be God's true church on earth based on their loose interpretation of scripture, particularly Matt. 16:17-19, Where they say that St. Peter was given the key to both Heaven and Hell. They believe that Peter was the Rock upon which Christ built His church, a claim that even Peter never supported (1 Peter 2:6,7).
    Another point to make is that Peter was a married man (Mark 1:20-31). Popes are forbidden to marry.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  124. pat in michigan


    May 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  125. Brett from California

    The Catholic Church has had a policy of stonewalling anything that would cast a negative shadow on it for many centuries. At least in modern times they can't charge accusers with heresy and have them either jailed or killed.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm |