Monday, March 29, 2010

Calls Increase for Pontif's Resignation

We said it here almost first.  Now several other editorials, human rights activists, scholars, are calling for Benedict's resignation.

Others are insisting this is just more anti-catholicism.

Categorical anti-Catholocism (as opposed to just run-of-the-mill critique of religion) is absurd and dangerous.  Likewise, the attacks on Benedict about Hitler Youth participation are unfair. The criticism and call for his resignation based on him having information about sexual crimes in front of his face and doing nothing about them are perfectly fair. They would be fair for any head of state and are even more appropriate for a leadership position with global spiritual and material influence (there is an "embassy" to the Vatican in practically every city and town in the U.S.). Is there anti-Catholic sentiment out there that will be played over this? Yes, and I'm willing to sever out of any general or nonspecific criticism of the church and only talk about the sex crimes issue.

To say the Pope should not resign, at this point, is to grant him a moral and organizational exemption solely based on his religious status. This is an acid test for the role of religion in the public square internationally. Benedict's reduction of this dialogue to "petty gossip" only raises the stakes, because it demonstrates a metaphysical and moral arrogance that discredits what little moral authority the Catholic Church still has.

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