What the hell?

Exploring the Catholic sex scandal.

IMAGINE IF THIS were happening in the public school system. Imagine if there had been thousands of Mary Kay Letourneaus over the past decade. Imagine if her district had simply had her transferred to another school.

The Catholic hierarchy says the media is in a feeding frenzy. And it's certainly true that in any large group of people you'll find a few creeps, celibacy or no celibacy. It's horrifying how many children are molested by camp counselors, uncles, teachers, baby sitters—but just because child rape isn't confined to the Catholic Church doesn't make these allegations less disgusting. And when the creeps in the church were discovered, how could the supposedly most God-fearing of men willfully put more and more children in harm's way, even as they're paying out millions and millions in settlements? It is astoundingly senseless.

We're not holding our breath for some ultimate solution from the Vatican. In the following stories, we ask why internal warnings were ignored, talk to a Seattle U associate dean about preparing men for the priesthood, and question local Catholics about the foundation of their faith. Paul Fontana and Geov Parrish think back on their own experiences with men of the cloth. Rick Anderson explains that it's not only Catholics who are facing lawsuits. And Steve Wiecking says the child molesters aren't the only thing wrong with the Catholic Church.

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