ROME — Italy's foreign minister has rushed to Pope Benedict XVI's defense, while Italian newspapers labeled foreign media reports "attacks" for questioning what the pontiff might have known about the pedophile clergy scandal rocking Europe.
Italian politicians predictably have rallied to defend the pope in the face of reports that Benedict allegedly allowed a pedophile priest to do pastoral work while he was Munich archbishop — though even a top Vatican official has complained that a "culture of silence" in Italy may have masked sexual abuse by clergy in what is effectively the Vatican's backyard.
Meanwhile, there has been great surprise, even shock, throughout the Western world that the secular media has almost unanimously doubted, smeared, and even attacked the Pope in its coverage of the scandals. Now that wasn't predictable at all, was it?
I do admire, however, how the reporter works mightily to use the current-day "culture of silence" in Italy to cast doubt on the actions of Archbishop Ratzinger in the late 1970s and early '80s. Nice. And if the Vatican has some sort of deeper and immediate responsibility for dioceses that are geographically closer to the Vatican—the "Vatican's backyard!"—wouldn't that somehow exonerate then-Cardinal Ratzinger from any suspicion of wrong-doing in handling the Fr. Murphy situation in Wisconsin, which is roughly 4777 miles from Rome? No? Oh. Hmmmm...I suppose that's predictable as well...