Thank you to Les, for finding this excellent new comment by George Weigel:
While the Savile case was breaking, reports of large-scale sexual abuse in Boy Scout troops were being released by court order. Those crimes, plus the extensive (if largely ignored) research on sexual abuse in U.S. public schools, plus heart-rending accounts of children sold into sex slavery around the world, make clear that sexual assault on the young is a universal plague, not a disorder peculiar to any profession or institution.
That hard fact does not in any way excuse clerical sexual predation; nor do the facts about this plague absolve bishops who were malfeasant in their responsibilities as shepherds, or who trusted to psychology more than moral theology in making their decisions. But the facts—and the selective way they are dealt with in too much of the mainstream media—do suggest that the story line declaring the Catholic Church a uniquely perverse institution is a lie; those who perpetrate it are either ignorant bigots, or people with agendas other than the protection of young people, or both.
The Church, however, must always hold itself to a stricter standard. That is why the failure to make a full public accounting of the depredations of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, is a grave mistake on the part of both the Legion and the Holy See—as is the failure of both the Legion and the Vatican to ask a very hard question: Is the community Maciel founded, and manipulated to facilitate his crimes, a work of God? No one can or should doubt that individual Legionary vocations to the priesthood are gifts of God; the fruits of those vocations testify to their authenticity. But the Legion itself? Surely a religious community, and the Holy See, should be more self-critical and transparent than the BBC.
Amen. Amen. Amen. The Legion is still forming men, still recruiting, still guiding the members of Regnum Christ -- without a constitution, without a charism, without a mission, without apology, and without an explanation of how their paederast-founder acheived accolades and access to the highest echelons of the Church. He did not act alone, and his construct did not die when he did.
Their continued existence stands as a stark reminder that a pope can be cuckolded and an institution besmirched without need for accounting. That doesn't make the faith less true, but it makes it difficult for Catholics to evanglelise and defend the Spotless Bride. The victims deserve better, the laity deserve better. Until this happens, that "stricter standard" is just word play.