Let me reframe for you the latest chapter of the German Catholic papal accountability scandal.
The convicted German pedophile priest has been named. Fearing increased anger over the sheltering and shuttling of pedophile priests, the German bishops suspended the priest admitting that he had continued to work with children because they had given him assignments that involved working with children. (Priests do not make their own assignments. They receive them from the bishops to whom they promise obedience.)
The supervising bishop of the pedophile priest has resigned, taking a bullet for the pope who, despite this maneuver, remains entirely not off the hook.
The fourfold net effect of all this is really bizarre.
First, it is clear to everyone that the German bishops had not been bothered by the continued ministry of the pedophile priest. Their suspending him is entirely a PR move, and a lame one at that.
Second, we find ourselves in the weird position of empathizing and almost siding with the pedophile priest who appears somehow either to have learned to control or perhaps outgrown his pedophile urges. Some of his German parishioners have praised his work upon learning about his distant past.
Third, the cruel absurdity of Catholic justice is not lost on the faithful. Consider the words of Eva Wankerl, one of the parishioners of the pedophile priest.
If you get divorced and remarry you can’t take communion, but someone convicted of molesting children can say Mass for the rest of his life.
Fourth, the obvious villain in this sordid story is not the pedophile priest, nor the supervising prelate who resigned, nor the scrambling German bishops covering B16's ass, but the pope himself who is allowing this to unfold with only an expression of sadness about what that pedophile priest did. He obviously and tacitly seems to approve of the heroic but clumsy efforts to shield him while he is safely far away in his palace, humming that Bette Midler classic "From A Distance" and choking on only the last line "God is watching us, from a distance."