Via The Economist:
There are psychological and sociological reasons why the Vatican has been slow to accept these hard realities. In most parts of Europe its clergy is ageing and diminishing in number—to a much greater extent than is its flock (see article). The temptation for a declining church to hang on to old privileges is strong. But it hardly helps win souls. Senior clerics, such as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and Rino Fisichella, recently charged with “re-evangelising” Europe, have signalled that they understand the need for the church to change. But they have run into a wall of internal opposition.
It is no coincidence that the scandals have usually been worst where the church claims the greatest legal power; nor that the church has looked healthiest when it focuses on converts not canon law. If only the Vatican’s masters could read the signs of the times more clearly, they might see that they have an interest in full accountability—to secular courts and elected governments. Instead of fiddling about with their own arcane procedures, they should enlist lay authorities to help them clean up and obey the law, just like everybody else.