I just witnessed a sorry Christmas spectacle: the Archbishop of Washington being interviewed by Chris Wallace. Cardinal Wuerl's demeanor can only be described as milquetoast, and his performance as mealy-mouthed.
As one of the authors of the Catholic Church's new guidelines on priest sexual abuse of children, he was asked if this has solved the problem. He replied that it was "one of the Church's great accomplishments." To behave as decent human beings? To prevent the rape of children? To act with basic humanity as an institution? To desist from facilitating the most heinous crimes against innocents? This is "one of the Church's great accomplishments"?! It is as if he were saying: "We no longer officially countenance, encourage, facilitate and cover up pedophilia and that is one of our chief moral accomplishments"!
Not content with this shameful assertion, Cardinal Wuerl went on to characterize the sexual abuse scandal as being a phenomenon of "the past ten, twenty, even thirty years." This is a despicable lie, but one to be expected from a mouthpiece for an amoral institution. Priest sexual abuse of children goes back centuries, has occurred in generation of priests, and continues, doubtless, to this day despite the new guidelines. It has occurred at every level of the Catholic clergy, as was demonstrated by the admissions of hundreds of priests, the collusion of dozens of bishops and cardinals, and the alleged culpability of the present pope. To suggest, as Wuerl has done, that the new guidelines have extinguished the problem is pernicious nonsense. Written guidelines do not change pathological criminal nature. They may force it deeper into the shadows, but if Wuerl actually thinks that the problem has vanished he must be a fool.
The fact, of course, is that he is not a fool. He is a witting apologist for a Church the official behavior of which and the unstated policy of which for centuries has been to enable and to protect child molesters among its own ranks. Wuerl is no better than the official spokesmen for the old Soviet Union, for Cuba and North Korea and Hussein's regime in Iraq: paid liars whose principal job is to protect the criminals they serve so sanctimoniously.
During the course of the interview, we were treated to images of Wuerl's investiture as cardinal at the Vatican. These images reminded me of nothing so much as those of the Nazi rally at Nuremberg, with the clergy ranged in neat rows, each section wearing the colors of its own brigade. And presiding at a defiled altar was the leader of this vast conspiracy to protect child rapists, a man whose own priest- brother stands accused of the abuse of the children under his care, and the pope who, apparently, helped to cover up his and others' bestial crimes.
At the end of Arthur Miller's powerful play, "All My Sons," the main character realizes that every boy who flew in the flawed aircraft he helped produce were his own children, and that he, personally, was responsible for their fate. "They were all my sons," he admits, accepting with that statement his personal guilt in their deaths, and he then goes on to do the only thing a man in his amoral condition can do - he kills himself. In exactly the same way, those thousands of innocents who were molested with the collusion of the members of the Catholic hierarchy were all their children, and each and every one of them should at last take personal responsibility for his guilt.