John Cooney: 17/2/10
Rome is proud of its claim to be the “Eternal City”. For 2,000 years it has claimed to be the moral arbiter of world affairs. Over the centuries, it has always managed to weather the storms of heresy, Reformation, the disunity of Christendom and secularist attacks from ungodly governments and literary critics. Rome too, has also survived scandals arising from bad popes, who have been worldly, corrupt and sexually lecherous, even siring offspring from illegitimate carnal relations with women. However, the crisis of child clerical sexual abuse is threatening to pose the biggest challenge ever to the Vatican’s moral authority. Yet, the late Pope John Paul II, ably and zealously aided by his then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger, was more concerned with removing dissident theologians from being recognised as orthodox Catholic scholars than with defrocking paedophile priests and ensuring full cooperation with the civic authority.