I find myself praying a lot for Pope Benedict these days. From within the U.S., of course, it’s easy to overestimate how much the sniping of the New York Times actually roils global Catholicism. Nonetheless, as the Times stacks one leaky bucket atop another, it’s easy here to forget that they all leak. And, because of both the uniquely spiritual outlook of the Roman Catholic Church and the highly technical nature of her legal terms, it’s easy to impute malice and self-protection to garden-variety Vatican heel-dragging. The saga of Stephen Kiesle, the third and most recent of the front-pagers for the Times, is a case in point.
I feel compelled, in the interest of fairness, to make a few points specifically concerning Pope Benedict’s alleged negligence in this regard: