SoÂ…maybe the pope bowing out is somehow related?
Who in God's name cares about a disgraced pedophile cardinal hailing from Great Britain?
Everybody, everywhere who still steadfastly belongs to the world's fastest shrinking religion.
Cardinals, remember, not only select and cast votes for who will become the next pope, they can also become popes themselves. So this latest revelation regarding yet more wrongdoing of the highest order proves the offensive issue of child molesters hiding behind their frocks and collars isn't going away anytime soon.
In fact, the emergence of a pedophile perp of such prestige as the UK's Cardinal O'Brien, is particularly disconcerting because it shows the scandal continues to climb up the ranks of the Catholic hierarchy.
Cardinals sinning, and a historic cover up of those sins, creates serious doubt in every faithful Christian's heart about all their high-ranking church officials. Even the pope himself.
Is there nothing sacred?
For an institution that openly condemns birth control yet secretly condones sexual impropriety, that's a very good question. And a pope walking off the job is either refusing to grant the required response to it, or sending a powerfully negative signal as to what his answer might be.
In either case, resigning is a clear abdication of duties said to be divinely entrusted to him, and deciding to abandon his flock around the time of Easter celebrations only further deepens misgivings and disbelief.
Additionally, though pointing to advanced age, mental exhaustion, and deteriorating health as the motive for Benedict's stunning departure may seem like good crisis management in the short term, in the long run it will do little to allay the growing fears of the masses that the very foundation of their church is beginning to crumble.
After all, a pope isn't a high-powered executive from some major corporation who's finally reached the golden age of retirement. He's an appointed religious leader, and that appointment is for life.
Pontiffs are not young men as a rule anywayÂ—most were senior citizens even before being nominated for the postÂ—and yet those "pressing" health concerns have posed no major obstacles to any of Benedict's predecessors. Nor do they appear to be a deterrent for the roster of silver-haired papal wannabes currently jockeying to replace the pontiff.
Which is to say, while it's clear the man is getting on in years and won't live forever, he isn't more decrepit or sicker than anyone else who would have served before himÂ…or after.
A crisis of faith
Only a few decades ago it was absolutely unthinkable to question the integrity of the papacy, or accuse anyone who had ever taken vows of devotion to God and Christ of unspeakable crimes, collusion and conspiracy.
Making such disparaging remarks may not have been punishable by law or death, but in those bygone days it was akin to heresy, nonetheless.
Today, believers and nonbelievers alike shake their heads in disgust at the degree of criminality continually being exposed within the Catholic Church, and at the long and winding trail of misdeeds which now leads into the hallowed halls of Vatican City.
In light of that and his surprise resignation, it's only fair to ask: Is Pope Benedict guilty as sin, too?
And, if so, of what?END AKISMET -->
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