For over forty years, power-drunk Catholic leaders have accused independently-minded women of committing all manner of crimes and immoralities. It’s ironic, considering church leaders’ role in pervasive, prolonged and systematic child abuse.

U.S. bishops marshaled no small amount of strength to lobby Nancy Pelosi and the House on health care. Not for universal coverage, they pushed a measure that seeks to strip millions of women of affordable health coverage and reproductive choice. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky vowed in a speech Monday that the so-called Stupak-Pitts amendment wouldn’t make it into the final bill, but the Church is all over Washington, and it’s shown that it still has a hold on our politics.

Can some one please explain: why is that?

In Ireland, a new report just released has shocked people afresh about child sexual abuse by priests—a scandal, many have noted, with a cover-up that reaches to the highest levels in the Catholic hierarchy.

Pope Benedict, lest we forget, when he was a mere Cardinal was the man responsible for investigating alleged abuse. But Cardinal Ratzinger — “God’s Rottweiler,” as he was fondly pet-named — wasn’t such an attack dog when it came to prosecuting abusers. As the Irish investigation has reminded us once more, the Catholic Church leadership has consistently covered for child abusers. In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger even put it in writing –in 2001 he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to cover up crimes and threaten accusers with excommunication.

Given all this, “I wonder why Catholics continue to accept the preaching, teaching and judging of rapists, paedophiles and their protectors” wrote Irish columnist Mor Rigan at Global Comment.

I wonder why the same church that has yet to prove itself any sort of good guardian of the young people in its care gets away with talking so much about morality, women, children and sex.

Tell me again: Why are we listening to those who cover for child abusers tell us anything, anything at all, about health?

And you might add — and why are they tax-exempt?

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at and Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.