Surrender yourselves to the authorities, the Irish bishops were told, and being obedient lads, they did.
I didn't really mean it, said His Holiness the Pope.
Bad things don't stay hidden forever. A civil investigation into the Dublin archdiocese found evidence that Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field had their clerical fingers in the slime that was the sex abuse scandal. The public raised an outcry and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin looked for heads to roll. It seemed like the best way to stop the continuing decline in active Catholics who drop money in the collection plate on a Sunday.
Last December, the bishops told the Pope they were resigning. They'd done more to turn people away from the Church than they'd brought souls to Jesus. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
In the Vatican, word came from on high that those who had sinned had better confess. Said it very loudly, so that Catholics around the world would hear. See how the Holy See is right on top of the problem, they announced in triumph. Fixing the problem. All will be well in no time.
The resignations have been rejected.
It was loud public outcry that got the bishops to step down, and we can't have public outcry running things in Vatican City. Would have been quite a different story if the Irish bishops had done the actual abusing. Then they'd be out on the street.
All they did was try to cover it up. That's not reason enough for the Holy Father to accept surrender.
Men who stood by and helped pedophile priests evade capture so that they could abuse even more children get to keep their lofty perches in the Church hierarchy. All the talk of cleaning house was just that, nothing but talk.
So talk to us from the pulpit, all you priests and bishops. Tell us about morality and sin. Don't mind the cynical laughter coming back at you from the pews.