My thanks for a cartoon that speaks volumes about the Roman Catholic Church’s protracted dithering over how to counter endemic clerical sexual abuse. As a “recovering Catholic,” my lapsed status may not entitle me to pray that the Church somehow survives its existential crisis. Still, I hope that Pope Francis soon confers with God, perhaps along these lines:
Francis: “Holy Father, can you ever forgive me for having ignored rampant clerical molestations of minors?”
God: “Well, when you learned of these horrific crimes, why did you not take remedial action to prevent future violations of innocent youths?
Francis: “That would have made for bad press and soiled the Church’s divine image.”
God: “But your inaction abetted systemic cover-ups that trashed the Church’s credibility. What with our sacred tenets ever more doubted, where might we find enough credulous believers to carry on the faith?”
Francis: “Good question. Just one solution comes to mind: Open the priesthood — and the papacy — to upstanding women. Start with my successor.”
God: “Great suggestion. Your resignation is accepted. Go and sin no more.”