The latest religious news this week is that, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, non-religious Americans know more about religion in general than self-identified Christians. Even when corrections were made for disparities in intelligence and education levels, the statistics still bear out. (You can test your own knowledge, or just check out the questions, here. I got all the answers correct, but only because I had read about some of the questions in various news reports. I would probably have gotten 2 wrong if I hadn't.)
Last Sunday, CNN aired a special segment called "What the Pope Knew," an investigative special on the extent to which Pope Benedict knew about sexually abusive priests when he was a cardinal. It reveals that then Cardinal Ratzinger had specific knowledge of at least one pedophile priest and wrote a letter explaining that the Church could not defrock him without his consent. In other words, it was largely ignored.
John W. Kennedy, who writes the "Catholics, Media & Culture" column for Beliefnet, addressed the CNN program, writing that it was a solid piece of journalism and unfortunately revealed grave errors on the part of the Church. He also writes of how we can move forward from such revelations:
"Balance requires a willingness to admit and truly come to grips with what happened (so healing can begin and necessary reforms can be made) as well a realization that the Church stands for something that is good and solid and beyond the failings of even its leaders -- and that is the love and forgiveness offered to the world through Jesus Christ."
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