(Reuters) - Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to "act decisively" to root out sexual abuse of children by priests and ensure the perpetrators are punished, the Vatican said on Friday.
I hope this is true. It's hard enough to defend my faith anyway, but when the first words out of every detractor's mouth have to do with predatory pedophiles in the priesthood it's impossible. There is no satisfactory reply that defuses this bomb of the Church's own devising and makes it possible to discuss Catholic theology on it's merits. No one seems to be able to get past it, and I'm not sure they should.
There are probably darker periods in Church history. The Spanish Inquisition comes to mind, as does the second Borgia Pope, Alexander VI. Still, this modern chapter of the Church's failure to live up to it's charter is unique in the innocence of its victims, and that's what everyone is understandably upset about.
Pope Francis has an opportunity to make amends of sorts. I don't think this can ever be set right, but it can certainly be stopped in its tracks and prevented in the future. That's the very least the Church can and should do.