Tomorrow (Saturday/Sept. 25 @ 8:00 PM ET) CNN will air an investigative documentary on the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal called What the Pope Knew. The
hour-long report is anchored by Gary Tuchman.  This is the conclusion
of my three-part interview with Mr. Tuchman about what he found.

JWK: How would you compare Pope Benedict XVI with his predecessor?

TUCHMAN:  They’re
certainly very different. In the history of the Roman Catholic Church
there’s been no one like John Paul – who traveled as much as he did. I
mean even many non-Catholics considered him like a grandpa.

Benedict isn’t that kind of folksy guy. He was a lot older when he took
over — but he’s doing more for the victims of child molestation than
any pope before him and there’s been a lot of popes before him.

JWK: But Church sex abuse scandals weren’t even on the radar before Pope John Paul II.

Only Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have ever dealt with this in any
public fashion. You can be assured that molestation with any
institution — or families in this country — there’s nothing new about

We’re just grateful — we should all be grateful — that
this is brought to our attention. For people to think — and this is
what many people thought even just a few years ago — that this is only
unique to the American priesthood are only kidding themselves.

problem is we’re gonna see in the decades to come — in countries where
the press is closed and where you’re not able to have free reporting —
it will eventually come out that this is not just in the United States.
It’s not just in Germany. It’s not just in Belgium. And it’s not just
the Catholic Church.

That’s what The Kite Runner
is about in Afghanistan. It’s a huge problem in Afghanistan, child
molestation. They have so many other problems they can’t deal with that
right now. Just like here, the Afghan people are good people but
there’s some bad people there. It’s a problem everywhere. To try and
(portray it) as just Americans trying to grub money is very unfair.  

It seems to me that the fact that decades worth of cases all popped in
a short period of time made everything worse. For one thing, if the
cases were dealt with as they came along you wouldn’t have had so many
repeat offenders. 

TUCHMAN: There’s no question about it. Isn’t that always the problem with anything? You know we hesitate to use the word cover-up particularly
with regard to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or
Cardinal Ratzinger — because that’s a strong allegation.  We don’t
know if he covered it up. It’s a possibility. We don’t know if he tried
just to ignore it or thought that prayer was the answer — and the sole
answer. We don’t know. We do know it was a mistake — and even the
Vatican acknowledges that today.

JWK: What would you like viewers to take away from this documentary?

TUCHMAN:  What I want viewers to know is that this is not an indictment of the Church — the institution, the great people within it, the great people who go to church. But
this is an indictment of molesters who know they can get away with
molesting because…they were comforted in the fact that their bosses
wouldn’t report them. And that is so sad.

And we hope that
through awareness and through documentaries like this that that culture
changes — not just in the Church but elsewhere too.

Tomorrow: My review of What the Pope Knew

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