April 15, 2019
By Nicholas Frankovich
Rachel Donadio at The Atlantic weighs in on the long letter that Benedict, the pope emeritus, recently published on the sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. “Benedict said the crisis became most acute in the second half of the 1980s,” she writes. “This is not quite the case.”
Why? Because, she reasons, the public record includes allegations of sexual abuse that occurred both before and after the 1980s.
Either Donadio is not a careful thinker or she is and she’s trying to steal second base. “Became most acute in” doesn’t mean “is unknown to have existed before or after.” Here’s what Benedict wrote:
The question of pedophilia, as I recall, did not become acute until the second half of the 1980s. In the meantime, it had already become a public issue in the U.S., such that the bishops in Rome sought help, since canon law, as it is written in the new (1983) Code, did not seem sufficient for taking the necessary measures.