The press are trying hard to find the fingerprints of find high ranking Vatican figures on bungled child abuse cases. There was one from Arizona trying to implicate the Holy Father and another one from Oregon trying to target Cardinal Levada.
As we’ve come to expect, the stories are simplifications which show the journalist’s inability or unwillingness to deal with the complexities of Vatican dicasteries, the legal processes of canon law and the distinctions between church law and civil law. For example, they protest indignantly that a guilty priest was not defrocked for twelve years, never saying that this permanent laicization can only be done by the Vatican, and that it takes time, and the case must be heard fairly. Nor do they point out that during that time the local bishop had disciplined the guilty priest, suspended him from dressing as a cleric or acting as a priest in any way, and that eventually he was permanently defrocked.
Instead the article states baldly that Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t bother to defrock the man for twelve years. Never mind that during that time Ratzinger wasn’t even in charge of the process and that his only involvement, when we was finally put in charge, was to change the rules so that the offense could be dealt with more quickly and the offender punished more severely.
The press’ deliberate simplifications are an example of shabby, tabloid journalism at its worst. They’re not trying to establish facts. They’re distorting the facts and trying to throw mud, hoping that some of it will stick.
For the facts behind both cases go here.