"These events brought a sickening dose of reality to our hallways. While the stories don't signal a trend, they do mean that all faith-based institutions can no longer afford to assume that predators are somewhere "out there," over the clean Christian rain-bow. They are not just in college locker rooms and Catholic rectories either. They are on our evangelical faculty and work in our community nonprofits, and we must respond to them in a way that bears the judgment—and mercy—of the gospel of Christ."It's hard for me to agree with Christianity Today puts out, but I can't see how else not to in this case. I'll say it again: I don't think using scandals against Roman Catholicism is a good way to argue.
Abuse scandals can certainly serve as good examples of hierarchical subterfuge in any organization that claims a lofty pedigree of divine favor. The Reformers of course, had no problem using scandal and abuse as arguments against Rome. For many of the Reformers, the scandals pointed to greater doctrinal issues that played a key role in perpetuating ecclesiastical abuse.
The problem as I see it in the 21st Century is that a Protestant using abuse scandals as an apologetic argument against Roman Catholcism has to explain abuse scandals within various Protestant churches. For years I've pointed out that if the argument you're using works against your own position, you've refuted yourself as well. Simply saying "Well, they've got more than us" won't do any logical good either.
I like to boil everything down and see what's left. Here's what I see once the flame is turned off: There's a big group of people that trust Rome as their ultimate infallible authority. On the other hand, there's another group who believe that the Bible is the only infallible authority.
Now, if I argue that an abuse scandal is one more argument "proving" that Rome is not the ultimate infallible authority, how does one avoid this contrary: abuse scandals within Protestantism prove that the Bible can't function as an infallible authority? I simply don't see how you can't.
From "our side" (or, at least, my perspective) we see the entire papacy (at least I do), as an abomination, so whatever good they do is simply filthy rags. This means that whatever "bad" they do is regarded as even worse. So of course, when they have scandals, from our perspective, it confirms what we already think about them.
If our goal though is simply to confirm the abomination we already know the papacy is, then by all means, expose as much scandal as possible. On the other hand, we should not be surprised if they similarly point out scandals within Protestantism to confirm what they "know" to be true about us.
So we'll shout back and forth at each other. For those of you who enjoy shouting, knock yourselves out.