Some Catholics Say Benedict Needs to Do Penance Now

I’m not sure I can take it anymore, my Catholic friend K. wrote to me in an e-mail. Maybe I should become an Episcopalian.

Fury does not begin to describe her mood. More than 10,000 children in Europe smacked, tortured, and raped by priests who were supposed to protect them. Bishops and spokesmen denying or minimizing their role—appearing, for all the world, like old men who seem not to understand the seriousness of what they’ve done. When universal clerical celibacy was established in 1139, it was intended, as Diarmaid MacCulloch puts it in his new book Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, to “set up a barrier between the clergy and laity, becoming the badge of clerical status.” The barrier’s still there, but in these cases the status carries a strong whiff of freakishness.