I was reading Pierce today on the latest revelation in the ongoing saga that is the Roman Catholic Man-Boy Love Association and had a brief vision of the sainted Thomas a' Becket.
Because like that irritatingly martyred man the Church cannot seem to see the beam in it's eye for the mote in other people's. Worried about its ability to speak commandingly on what it considers sins it overlooks the inevitable predation of the strong on the weak that will occur when you give the strong the sanction of holy authority and fail to place limits on their acts.
It's not an "if".
It's a when.
For the simple reason is that most men are not saints. And even most saints are not "saints" but, rather, men like Thomas Becket who prize their own authority, their own power and the power and privilege of their organization above the welfare of others.
The good people among them will, at least, do no harm - although, like Becket, may well do harm to others or to the commons in their zeal to do what they see as good to what they see as "theirs".
But the bad people among them will be monsters.
And the worst part about a religion is that it settles an armor of God (or gods) on the monsters, so that their monstrosity is concealed or, worse, is exalted into heroism. Thus can an Arnauld Amalric say “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" (Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His) deeming himself a pious man doing the good work his Lord has commended him to.
This is not a failing of the Catholic Church. It is not a failing of religion in general. It is a human failing.
But...it is a failing of religion - and the Catholic Church in this case - to fail to recognize that humans will use the tenets of their church to excuse, or hide, or enable their own failings if they are not strictly overseen. The power of holiness, the assumed mantle of godliness, will give those among them without scruple a weapon of terrible strength.
So the first duty of any cleric, from the humblest acolyte to the mightiest heirophant, must be to remain unsleepingly vigilant to the danger of that weapon. To be merciless in uncovering the abuse of trust and faith. To be self-sacrificing in publicly punishing the guilty and redeeming the victims. To place the faithful above the object of their faith.
But as any of the faithful would tell you; the path of duty is narrow and steep; the path of conformity, sloth, and luxurious power that leads to Hell broad, easy, and gentle.
So the fact that the fathers of the modern Church are no different in their loyalty to their own than Becket was nine centuries ago should come as no surprise to any of us.