We are grateful that Vatican officials have confirmed that "the Pope is informed about the (O'Brien) problem and the question is now in his hands." We implore Pope Benedict to take firm, clear and prompt action.
Pope Benedict accepting O'Brien's retirement would be a weak cop out. It would show that within the church hierarchy, there's still more sympathy for the victimizers than for the victims.
There are now 116 electors. None of them are indispensable. If men like O'Brien and Mahony and Brady love the church, they should stay home. But even if they do, a papal punishment is still in order. Youngsters are safe when those who commit or conceal abuses are publicly punished, not when they're allowed to quietly and voluntarily step aside.
By skipping mass, avoiding interviews and apparently hiring a lawyer, even though he faces no lawsuits - O'Brien is acting like he's guilty. (We can't immediately recall a single instance in which a cleric has faced four accusers and eventually been found not guilty of sexual misconduct.)