A big problem for the Catholic Church has been coming to terms with its fall from “superpower status” in Western society — from the preeminent position it enjoyed in the first 1000 years or so of the Christian era, when it was a law unto itself. It was so powerful, it wasn’t answerable to anyone. And being closed, it was beyond scrutiny. Accepting that it is now no more than a bit player in society, and subject to the secular state outside the areas of religious doctrine and observance, has been painful. Hence the church’s reluctance to “come clean” on the sex crimes of its priests. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard, New Zealand, of January 22, 2011.
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