BY THE CATHOLIC Church’s reckoning, it has undergone a sea change since the days when sexual predators in clerical collars sexually abused young boys with scant fear of dismissal, reprimand or even excessive concern by their supervisors. American dioceses have paid billions of dollars in compensation to victims, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued what amounts to a zero-tolerance policy and Pope Benedict XVI has apologized to victims of clergy sexual abuse here and in Ireland.
Yet despite the hierarchy’s insistence that it is investigating and rooting out sex criminals, the church often seems stuck in a defensive crouch. Too often it has failed to move against abusers and those who tolerate them until forced to do so by legal action or the threat of full-blown scandal.
In its reluctance to discipline Catholic leaders who covered up or ignored sex crimes, the church also deepens the impression that it remains focused more on safeguarding its image than protecting victims.
That’s the lesson in the story of the Rev. Bradley M. Schaeffer, for many years one of the most prominent Jesuit leaders in America. As the Boston Globe reported last month, Mr. Sch...
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