1. As a rebuttal to all the hoopla over Pope Francis's suggestion that the Catholic Church should spend a little less time obsessing over gays and abortion last week, Tim Stanley at the Telegraph points out the case of a former priest from Melbourne named Greg Reynolds who "appears to have been both defrocked and excommunicated because of his radical views on women clergy and gay marriage." I'm not denying the fact that Francis is better than Pope Benedict, but it's also important to always remember that the Pope still represents a ridiculously regressive system. We should praise his steps to the good, but we should also continually remind him how far he has to go.
2. But if anyone wanted a reminder of how awful Pope Francis's predecessor was, this account of a new letter from Joseph Ratzinger just popped up on TIME's website:
Benedict directly addressed the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic church for much of the last decade. It is believed to be the first time he addressed the crisis in the first person. “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things,” he wrote. ”It’s also not a motive for comfort to know that, according to sociological research, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than in other comparable professional categories…In any event, one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism.”
This is a man who has learned absolutely no lessons.