Scapegoat for Catholic evils?
Reuters report that a Philadelphia monsignor has been sentenced to six years for covering up paedophile activity among Catholic priests. He did not molest children himself, but covered up the activities of other priests. Are his fellow prisoners likely to have the discernment to distinguish a coverer-up from an actual paedophile, and how will they treat him? I am not optimistic.
In praising the sentence, the District Attorney said
The issue for us is what he did as secretary of the clergy, and the scores, the hundreds of thousands of children who were placed in harm's way as a result of a culture, a bureaucracy, that protected pedophile priests instead of protecting children.
It is shocking that the children were treated in this way, and shocking that the church tried to cover it up and endangered even more children by transferring priests to new areas after they had offended. But is this particular priest the fall guy for a Catholic culture in which he was just a pawn? Is the conviction of Monsignor Lynn designed to take the heat off the real evil, which is the entire culture of the Catholic church? Can the church claim that, because individual priests are put in prison, that lets them off the hook?