Cal  Thomas

God knows -- and He does -- Protestants shouldn't be throwing stones at the Roman Catholic Church for the scandals involving the abuse of children by some priests. Protestants have a blemished history of how they have handled their own scandals involving extramarital sex, misappropriated funds and arrogant behavior.

The hall of shame in the last century includes Aimee Semple McPherson (an alleged affair with her radio engineer, Kenneth Ormiston), Garner Ted Armstrong (Hustler magazine carried a story in September of 1978 called "In Bed with Garner Ted Armstrong -- America's Promiscuous Preacher," which detailed gambling, adultery and the alleged rape of a young stewardess who worked on his private jet), Jim Bakker (sex with his secretary), Jimmy Swaggart (sex with a prostitute) and Ted Haggard (sex with a man), among too many others.

The difference between them and what is happening in the Catholic Church is that the sex -- though still sinful -- was (with the exception of Armstrong's alleged crime) between consenting adults. Those swindled or otherwise deprived of their money were old enough to have known better.

Sean Hannity FREE

If a priest having sex with children is not the unpardonable sin, it's pretty close. Listening to adults tell their stories of abuse as children and the burden they have had to carry, in some cases for decades, is heart breaking.

If Pope Benedict XVI were a politician, there would be those asking, "what did he know and when did he know it?" about the behavior of a priest under his direct supervision when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in Munich. The New York Times reported last week that Cardinal Ratzinger "was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish."

Various apologists claim Cardinal Ratzinger didn't know about any of this. In politics, that is called protecting the president by giving him "plausible deniability." The pope's continued denials are not plausible.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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