It's hard out here for a priest.
The sex-abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church refuse to go away, with more cases coming to light and casting doubt on the actions of those in the highest offices of the Vatican, including Big Pope-a himself:
Critics have charged that Pope Benedict XVI, at best, failed to deal with abusive priests. At worst, they say, he presided over a church that systematically shielded abusers from the law.
It's highly unlikely that Pope Benedict will resign his office in response to the abuse scandals -- it's been almost 600 years since the last pope stepped down. But his character and personal beliefs will be crucial as he seeks to guide a church that claims 1 billion adherents through what the National Catholic Reporter in the United States calls the church's "largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history."
Pope Benedict has slowly descended from infallibility to "cartoonish supervillainy," as Smithers might put it. Ex-Brown Shirt? Check. Past history of obstructing inquiries into child abuse? Check. Uncanny resemblance to Emperor Palpatine? Check. The guy could be the villain in the next ten Bond movies, yet the best defense the Church has come up with so far is that anti-Vatican sentiment is the moral equivalent of anti-Semitism. An outrageous assertion, especially since it's unlikely that they've thought that line of thought out to its logical conclusion, which would be the gassing of Church leadership complicit in the cover-up.
If I may, I'd like to offer a different perspective. Namely, that the Vatican change their boring "deny, deny, deny" approach and start changing things up, maybe by learning from the example of these notorious (and fictitious) child predators.
Herbert -- Family Guy
The Church used to throw some great parties back in the day. Naturally, they'd have to tone down the group sex and bestiality of Benedict IX's era, but everybody loves a musical number, right?
Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker) -- Happiness (1998)
I think it was Roger Ebert who said that Bill's brutal honesty in owning up to his deeds might help his son come to grips with the monster his father has become. It's a long shot, but a sincere admission of wrongdoing might go a long way towards encouraging people to send their kids back to Sunday school.
Jesus Quintana (John Turturro) -- The Big Lebowski (1998)
And then there's this guy. I'm not saying I recommend that Church officials adopt The Jesus' approach, mocking "this day of rest shit" and telling the aggrieved, "Nobody fucks with the Ratzinger." Then again, it can't work any worse than what they've been doing.
Capt. Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves) -- Airplane! (1980)
Maybe screening potential parishioners for things like "enjoys movies about gladiators" might help the Church avoid problematic scenarios. Or here's a wacky thought: how about letting priests get married?
Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) -- Hard Candy (2005)
[SPOILER] When all else fails, pedophile priests are left with the Hard Candy option, which is -- as Dennis Miller once said when he used to be somewhat funny -- to lean into the strike zone and take one for the team.
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