- The cliché is that it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. In this case the cliché is actually true. The actual abuses, horrible as they were, were mainly individual crimes not institutional ones. The moral indictment of the Catholic Church comes with the efforts to protect the institution by hiding what had happened. In many cases, the cover-ups led to more children being abused.
- I don't think it is reasonable to make any sort of cause and effect connections between the church's teaching on sexuality and what happened. The sort of men who abused teenage boys would not have been any less likely to do so if they'd had wives. Further, I have seen no evidence to indicate that priests were statistically more likely to sexually abuse children than members of any other group that works with children.
- I don't think there is any reasonable narrative that makes Pope Benedict the bad guy in this story.
- Conversely, I think there is much about John Paul's actions that deserves deeper investigation. We need to know just how much he did to hamper investigations of abusive priests. I know this will be very painful to some but it needs to be done.
- There needs to be a special investigation of the Irish church as forms of abusive that happened there and with some of the Irish orders operating in North America seems to have been especially prevalent and repugnant.
On the last point, there is something I'd like to underline. For all the condemnation of the church's attitudes on sexuality, it is an interesting cultural fact that most places where the Catholic church played a powerful political and cultural role historically now show more open-minded and tolerant attitudes than places in the west where Protestantism did. In Canada, for example, Quebec is a very different place than the rest of the country.
The singular exception to this is Ireland where some of the most repressive cultural attitudes towards sex in the entire west formed.