The former Nazi appears to have a pattern of covering up child molestation by  priests. But yesterday, the New York Post reports, New York’s new archbishop, Timothy Dolan, compared the criticism of the pope to “‘the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar’ suffered by Christ.

“Sunday Mass is hardly the place to document the inaccuracy, bias and hyperbole of such aspersions,” Dolan told parishioners, “but Sunday Mass is indeed the time for Catholics to pray for Benedict our pope.”

“The recent tidal wave of headlines about abuse of minors by some few priests — this time in Ireland, Germany and a rerun of an old story from Wisconsin — has knocked us to our knees again,” he said.

In other words, take my word for it—the Pope is innocent.

I don’t think there are many American Catholics who will take this argument on faith. The Church has been too battered in recent years; faith in God is not the same as faith in priests.

Does anyone really believe, for example, that the number of pedophile priests was “some few”?

And labeling the Wisconsin scandal a “rerun of an old story”—even though no one’s ever heard of it before and the church has for years tried (still is trying) to hush it up—is pure political spin, cynicism in a way that challenges faith.

By the way, here’s another funny argument, from Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat (who himself, in an initiation into a similar kind of priesthood, once went skinny-dipping with William F. Buckley, Jr. But never mind.)

Emphasis added:

In reality, the scandal implicates left and right alike. The permissive sexual culture that prevailed everywhere, seminaries included, during the silly season of the ’70s deserves a share of the blame, as does that era’s overemphasis on therapy. (Again and again, bishops relied on psychiatrists rather than common sense in deciding how to handle abusive clerics.)

This is a fine example of a silly Washington habit of trying to fit everything into a conservative/liberal dichotomy—and then blaming the liberals.

Bishops turned to psychiatrists as a means of keeping these matters out of the criminal justice system—and the headlines—not because they believed in psychiatry because they were infused by the “permissive sexual culture” of the day. I’d like to see one shred of documentation of that; I’m no expert on this, but I’d bet that the Church was railing against that sexual culture.

What’s more interesting is why it turned for help to psychiatrists and not other priests.