Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, points out that the cases of the pedophile priests come from the 1970s, when theological liberalism was rampant in Catholicism. He says that the lack of recent cases reflect a more conservative church and a generation of more faithful priests:
There are two parts to the scandal that has obsessed Europe in recent weeks. The first part — the most evil, disgusting part — is over. Every group has a small percentage of members with sick sexual desires. By their very calling, Christian ministers ought to have a lower percentage. For a variety of reasons, however, the Catholic Church suffered through an astonishingly corrupt generation of priests, centered around 1975, with a percentage of sexual predators at least equal to the general population’s.
Thank, God, that part is finished. European churches are now putting in place stringent child-protection procedures, and even with the anti-Catholic obsession raging in Europe, no cases of deliberately suppressed incidents less than a decade old have emerged. Besides, the new generation of priests, formed in the light of John Paul II’s papacy, seems vastly more faithful to Catholic moral teaching.
Still, the second part of the scandal remains, for it involves not the mostly dead criminals but the living institution. The bishops who ruled over that corrupt generation catastrophically failed to act.
Some of this came from the shortsighted and anti-theological advice of the lawyers and psychologists who dominated Catholic institutional thinking in that era. But much came simply from a desire to avoid bad publicity. And for the bishops’ failures, every Catholic is now paying — in a hundred years’ worth of donations lost to court judgments, in suspicious faith and in deep shame.
The author says that now those who are out to destroy the Catholic church are trying to target Pope Benedict–to the point of some European newspapers offering awards for documents linking him to the scandals–which he thinks is unfair.