The headline reads “Pope deplores Belgian sex raids, stresses autonomy.” This is in reaction to the Belgian police searching the home and office of an Archbishop.
Now I have no idea whether the police raid was based on reasonable suspicion, but the pope's objections weren't along those lines. He's objecting to the very idea of police investigation of Roman Catholic officials. He claims that the Roman Catholic church is entitled to its own independent investigation, the results of which would be reported to police.
What the pope wants is exactly what has been happening for the entire history of the United States. I'm not familiar enough with practice in other countries to know if the same tradition holds there. I say “tradition” because at least in the United States there is no law to this effect – it's just what's been done before. Tradition, in other words.
There is ample evidence that this tradition has failed our children. In case after case in the past couple of decades, we've all discovered that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been actively hiding the disgusting behavior of their own members, moving repeat offenders from parish to parish and refusing to deal with the problem – or even to acknowledge it. The church's version of this is consistently that the offending clergy are being treated “pastorally.” They appear to believe, contrary to all evidence, that the offending clergy can somehow heal themselves with the aid of their religion. There is zero evidence that such healing takes place, and much evidence to the contrary. To this outside observer (I am not a Roman Catholic), the behavior is a combination of denial and hiding.
The pope has got it exactly backwards. Instead of insisting on independence and handling the “problem” within the church, he should be welcoming the police investigations and legal proceedings as much-needed assistance in ridding the church of a shameful plague – a plague of their own making...