Sex Abuse: The Vatican's Struggle for Damage Control

The Holy See has a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel but still thinks it need answer only to God

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

Benedict XVI prefers to hold far fewer face-to-face meetings than did John Paul II

For centuries, the papacy has operated with the conviction that it answers to no earthly power. Many in Rome still believe that to be the case, but nowadays the church's faithful also believe in the sanctity of a free and vigorous press, with its unrelenting questions and nose for controversy. This all makes running modern media relations for the Vatican, in polite terms, a job from hell.

The current pedophile-priest scandal — what the Catholic writer and papal critic Andrew Sullivan pointedly refers to as "child rape" by clergy — has transfixed Catholics around the world, particularly with...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!