In the end, the sex abuse scandal has been an embarrassment to the Catholic Church. There's no denying it. And it's not because priests were raping babies, or even the more balanced reality that priests were abusing all age groups of minors within their care. Most fair minded individuals know that the pandemic of sex abuse and pedophilia goes well beyond the borders of the Catholic Church. The stats are clear, the facts obvious, and only those with anti-Catholic bigotry in their agendas will try to suggest that the abuse of children is somehow unique to the Catholic Church.
But anyway, we needn't argue that sexual abuse is not a result of anything uniquely Catholic. That's not what bothers most fair minded people. What bothers said people is the systemic, almost institutionalized cover up by the hierarchy. While many are trying to put faces and names on that cover up (as in, Pope Benedict), even without a clear link to the Pontiff, it's clear that cover ups happened, and that it was more than just a few renegade bishops. That is what sets the Church abuse apart. Not that cover ups don't happen in smaller environments, such as a Protestant congregation, a local school, or a university. But this is where that single attribute of Catholicism - the single, bureaucratic hierarchy that links a global faith with over a billion adherents - comes back around to haunt the Church. Because each and every time a bishop or a priest did do something, the entire Church stands guilty.
And since it appears that there was more than just a few renegade bishops, that there were ongoing attempts, if not to cover up, then at least to cover the rear ends of 'The Priesthood', it plays to the old notions of a giant, corrupt, self-serving religious spectacle. And that alone is bad.
In this story, victims rights groups are accusing a bishop - Bishop David Zubik of Green Bay - of destroying the psychological records of priests, ostensibly as part of the cover up. The Bishop is saying it never happened, that destroying any records was simply a matter of policy, and records of any priest under litigation were never to be destroyed.
But here's what caught my eye. The following paragraph in which the bishop outlines the practices and procedures of his diocese: