The American public's position on the RCC's child rape scandal is evolving as more information becomes available to them. The Pew Center for the People and the Press have released some data from early April polling confirming this.
Amid new revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI’s job ratings for handling the scandal have plummeted. Only about one-in-ten (12%) say the pope has done an excellent (3%) or good job (9%) in addressing the sex abuse scandal; 71% say he has done a poor (44%) or only fair (27%) job.
The pope’s ratings for addressing the continuing scandal have declined sharply since April 2008, shortly after his visit to the United States. At that time, 39% said he had done an excellent or good job in dealing with the abuse scandal, while 48% said he had done only fair or poor.
This certainly represents progress, but it also is a bit disturbing too. If you have followed the story of the Vatican protecting child raping priests, you may be surprised that only 44% if those polled rated Ratzinger's behavior as poor. It's important to understand the factors involved in this.
1) Media Bias:
The wealthy owners of corporate media know that religion keeps people docile and pliable in the overwhelming majority of cases. So, they will slant their coverage to protect and promote religion at almost any opportunity. Also, Ratzi is extremely rightist, even for a RCC pontiff. The corporate media try hard to protect their far right political allies.
2) Demonization of Critics of the Church:
Roman Catholic extremists like the "Catholic League" have tried to demonize people who criticize or even report on the rape of Roman Catholic children as "anti Catholic bigots." They even attack victim groups. This gives some everyday Roman Catholics a rationalization for denial on just how bad things are.
3) The Vatican's Sophisticated Public Relations Campaign:
Ratzi's minions have been effective in reducing criticism by treating this as a series of incidents, ignoring the obvious pattern of behavior within their church. Ratzi has yet to issue a general, global apology because that would contradict the Vatican's carefully constructed narrative. The Vatican also has been aggressive about issuing denials about what they have done, and they have consistently tried to portray themselves as fighting the abuse, rather than covering it up.
4) Naive Views About Clergy Being Especially Moral:
Despite all evidence to the contrary, there is this huge sense in our society that members of the clergy, almost regardless of faith (excepting Islam at the moment), are morally superior to the rest of us. No amount of sex scandals among televangelists, shocking greed and power mongering at megachurches, and child molestation among the RCC clergy seem to change that among so many in our country. Even blatant heterosexism and misogyny by most clergy haven't convinced most queers and women to chuck the silly notion that preachers are more moral.
This false association between religion and perceived morality that causes so much bigotry and discrimination against atheists. It also leaves victims of clerical criminals more vulnerable.