Leave it to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the totems of the British Atheist movement, to once again point out common sense, noting that the Pope's political sidestep is not recognized by the UN.
The Catholic Church has chosen the comfortable approach to its communications during this ongoing sex abuse scandal: to cloister itself. Systematically, it has closed down any venue or platform for discussion.
The days of papal apologies and expressions of contrition and shame have come and gone. The Church now lays blame on the reporters, not on the perpetrators and those who overlooked their transgressions.
How do some of us stay in the Church? In grief, in sadness, with a resolve not to be shut out by those who say they are speaking in the name of the Father. The Church is not an institution; it is the people.
The Pope now has an urgent responsibility -- and an extraordinary opportunity. He must not only move beyond apologies to action, but could also use his influence to urge all religious institutions to address sexuality in healthier, more open and responsible ways.
I'd like to propose a new Vatican Council, one that is needed for the Church but also for the world, as it would benefit greatly from an application of traditional Catholic values presented by a reinvigorated Church.