Gays, the media, free love - about the only thing the Catholic Church has not blamed for the child abuse and the resulting cover up is the pressures of golf. (the Spanish Inquisition, Barack Obama, Canada, the boogie and Pauline Hanson waiting in the wings?).
Here's a roundup of the scapegoats so far.
The otherwise workaday scandal of repressed Catholic clergy abusing children was given new legs last month. The New York Times revealed that the Pope, while Archbishop of Munich in 1980, allowed a pedophile priest to return to work. And that, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1996, he failed to defrock a bishop who molested 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin. Our round up of the scandal is here, but you don't have to worry about reading it, because the Catholic Church didn't do anything wrong. Instead, according to various Catholics, this is where the blame lies:
The Devil: He's to blame, according to 85-year-old exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, for both the abuse and the subsequent scandal. Beelzebub "used" those poor clergymen as child-abusing puppets, to smear the church, he told the Catholic News Agency. And as if that wasn't enough, Satan then sicked the media onto the Pope himself. Why? "Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II." Fiendish.
The Gays: Bill Donohoe, of the Catholic League, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times in which he excoriated that paper for completely missing the point of the scandal. "The Times, " he said, "continues to editorialize about the "pedophilia crisis," when all along it's been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay."
The Sexual Revolution: In this column the Times' Ross Douthat blames a variety of factors for the abuse, and subsequent cover-up. But we must not forget that "the permissive sexual culture that prevailed everywhere, seminaries included, during the silly season of the '70s deserves a share of the blame." Of course.
The Media: The Pope himself took the lead on this one. He said, in a service on Palm Sunday, that he would not "be intimidated by ... petty gossip," like the impeccably reported, multiple-sourced, rigorously fact-checked pieces of journalism with supporting documents that condemn him to complicity with child abuse. In an almost unprecedented attack, the Vatican then singled out the New York Times for being unfair, and called the wider coverage deceitful.
Persecution: Sometimes the facts just cannot be bettered. Here is the lede from a Times story today: "A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church - which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI's oversight role in two cases - to the persecution of the Jews, sharply raising the volume in the Vatican's counterattack."