Oh, that wacky Vatican. Let's say that you run an organization that, not to put too fine a point on it, has spent the last several centuries or so (who's counting?) either engaging in tons upon tons of child molestation and rape or helping to cover it up, only grudgingly admitting in the past couple of years that maybe ignoring or actively covering up said crimes may have been less than ideal. But hey, that's why pencils have erasers, and you've still got a billion adherents for some reason (a mean-spirited person would throw out phrases like "blind allegiance to tradition" and "head-slapping cognitive dissonance with terms like 'pay attention to the faithful, not the hierarchy,'" but I am not a mean-spirited person).
But it's a new day. You've got a pope who's nice to poor people and who has agreed to stop saying things like gay marriage comes from the devil because it's bad for public rela—because God calls us to be non-judgmental, and things are going great.
And then your representative in the Dominican Republic falls under investigation for allegedly paying kids for sexual favors. That sounds bad. It seems like the best thing to do would be to spirit him out of the country before he could be indicted and then tell everyone, "Don't worry—we'll take care of this."
In the Vatican's statement on Monday, the church said that it took the proper steps to make sure that the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski were dealt with seriously.
"The authorities of the Holy See, from the very first moments that this case was made known to them, moved without delay and correctly in light of the fact that former nuncio Wesolowski held the position of a diplomatic representative of the Holy See," said the statement, by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.
It added: "Far from any intention of a cover-up, this action demonstrates the full and direct undertaking of the Holy See's responsibility even in such a serious and delicate case, about which Pope Francis is duly and carefully informed and one which the pope wishes to address justly and rigorously."
Mr. Wesolowski has appealed the Vatican's decision to remove him from the priesthood, a process that will be decided over the coming weeks, most likely in October, the Vatican said. The criminal proceedings in the Vatican will take place after that, the statement said.
Does he get to hang out with Bernard Law while the Vatican decides just how seriously to take his case, several thousand miles away from the country where he allegedly committed his crimes (a country which, as far as I can tell, has a court system of its own—I mean, Wikipedia says that the Dominican Republic has a justice system, so it must be true)?
Also, quick follow-up: could I get a show of hands to see how many people still trust any member of the Catholic hierarchy to handle administering justice in sexual abuse cases?*
*-An even more mean-spirited person would quote Christopher Hitchens on Benedict's statement that sex abuse victims should be treated with "the greatest pastoral care": "I'm sorry, but they've already had that."