The outcry about these decisions to say "no" underscores the broader problem strong cultural forces -- notably, the media -- have with the moral voice of the Church. It's not just Pope Benedict that they wish would pipe down; it's also the local parish school. They are encouraging an environment in which even Catholics feel awkward about letting a Catholic school be Catholic. And they are using victims of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests -- priests who were themselves being unfaithful to the Church in an especially shocking way -- as cover for their own moral agenda.
This is what Time magazine recently did, when it announced on its cover that "Being Pope Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry." That headline simply doesn't pass the laugh test. Christianity itself is a redemption story. Christ Himself, the faithful believe, came precisely because we sin -- and believers are implored to say "sorry," in a sacramental way, in the Catholic Church. The Pope himself -- on the matter of what he has called the "filth" of the crimes committed by abusing priests -- has been forthright in asking forgiveness, and talking about the need for redemption and renewal in ways that even Time had to begrudgingly acknowledge. When Time magazine and The New York Times and the others work to try to depict the current pope as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution, they display their agenda -- an agenda that may be fought out in a local Catholic parish school near you, sooner rather than later.