Hardball | March 12, 2013
>>> black smoke emerged from the sistine chapel chimney tonight indicating the 115 voting cardinals have not yet chosen a pope to lead the roman catholic church . tomorrow voting will continue four times per day until a new pontiff is named. while much is being made of who the new pope will be, tonight we're going to take a look at the issues he must tackle. it will be a he in the catholic church . including corruption within the vatican, sex abuse scandal, role of women in marriage, and of course, contraception. michael wrote the book "left at
the altar: how the democrats lost the catholics and how the catholics can save the democrats." mary johnson was a nun for 20 years with mother teresa before leaving the church . she's the author of the book "unquenchable thirst." legal settlement of nearly $10 million in child sex abuse , catholic diocese of los angeles . $10 million. this is what most catholic lay people read in the paper, will read it in the "times" tomorrow, every paper in the country. they'll say, the priest, what are they doing? a lot of these cases are old.
>> i think the church has done a great deal since 2002 when they dop adopted the charter to ferret this stuff out. what i think the hierarchy doesn't understand, the church abuse scandal started the way watergate started with burglary. it's no longer about this priest or that priest who did it with a little bit or little girl . we understand that happens whether penn state football or the church . the problem are the bishops who oversaw them in so many cases did not react --
>> why not? why didn't they throw them out?
>> the culture, you know, whether, again, whether it was penn state or the clergy, they rally the wagons around. it's the most frustrating thing. i will say --
>> let me go to sister on this because i have a suspicion when people cover up, they're covering up for themselves. they've got a little embarrassment in their own sex life , perhaps, they're not supposed to have a sex life . somebody comes up and says, let's not be hypocritical here, joe, maybe you keep your mouth shut on this one. such an elaborate cover-up. so many people involved in it. you wonder, i don't know if it's like cops looking out for cops because they're cops, i think a lot of it is cover up for your own world. i'm speculating. i admit it. i don't like the looks of it. your thoughts, your memory, your history. what do you see?
>> i think the church has been building up secrecy for 20,0,000 years. they do it better really than anybody else. the hierarchy in the church has become such a boy's club really. just, one of the reasons i wrote my memoir, "unquenchable thirst" is because i wanted to start open dialogue about what it's really like to live celibacy in the church . what does that feel like? nobody is really talking about that. even when there were these revelations about the depths of the pedophilia crisis, people were talking legal things, historical things. but no one was talking what is that really like? priests are lonely. of course, pedophiles is an entirely different party. but if we're going to solve any of these problems in the catholic church , we have to begin to think about marriage for priests. we have to think about women priests . leadership --
>> i'm with you on all that. let me ask --
>> has to be responsible.
>> let me challenge you on one thing. why would anybody, i mean, i am maybe an old boy's club guy, myself, in some ways. some ways. that's pretty much the past. my question to you is, why would anybody want to hang out -- what guy do you know would want to hang out with another guy, old-school reference there, who has sex with older boys? why would you want to have the same -- be sitting at the same meal table with him, be in the same rectory with him? you wouldn't want anything to do with that person. why to you say they protect each other knowing this horror is going on, this disgusting behavior? what's this old boy's club reference got to do with it?
>> i think that as you said, nearly everyone in the priesthood has some sort of skeleton in their closet. richard sipes spent his entire history, his entire life studying celibacy among priests in the catholic church . he's a former priest, himself. he estimated through intensive sociological studies that at any given time in the catholic church , only 50% of priests are actually living their vow of celibacy. and when he went to rome and talked to cardinals about this, he was told that they found no reason to dispute those findings.
>> what do you make of that? that's a good estimate. what do you think of that estimate, half of them are having sex of some kind with somebody else?
>> you know, i'm not a prude and i'm not going to be throwing stones --
>> no, no stones. just facts. throw some facts.
>> if people don't live up to their marriage vows or celibacy vows, this is human nature . i think what's different about the pedophilia crisis was "a" the enormities of what was done, and secondly failure of a response to deal with it. again, i've got to give the bishops credit. i think in the last ten years they enacted a zero-tolerance policy. what worries me is when a bishop is caught not following the policies that they've pledged to enact, nothing happens.
>> okay. let's talk about something happening. i'm optimistic. i think you are, too, michael . i hope you are, too, mary . i don't know you. i know michael . let me start with you, mary . what's the chances we get a good pope? a person who can walk in the door with a broom and say, look, we have to get connected to the people, give sermons that connect to real people out there in their real lives. women, huge roles as deacons at least, vastly increase the role of women behind the altar. vastly increase the chances of people having at least open to the idea of contraception not as a morton sin. look back. all the big things catholics would like to have looked at again. what are the chances of that happening, mary ?
>> i wish that i could tell you that the odds were really good, but i can't. i don't think they are really good. change in the catholic church comes very slowly, and right now all of the bishops there have been chosen by conservative popes. all the cardinals who are going to choose the next pope. and because of the way that the history of dogma is constructed in the catholic church , because of the way papal infallibility has been built up, especially in the last century, it's very hard to take a step back and apply common sense.
>> you're so smart.
>> i want to push back on that. i'm sorry. to say that benedict was a conservative and just let it go with that. on january 1st in his world day of peace message, he listed three threats to world peace . terrorism, international crime , and unregulated financial capitalism. if barack obama had said that, fox would talk about nothing else for a month. yet it got no coverage, and there it was in one of his most prominent annual messages. the fact is both the left and the right conspire in this idea the only important thing you need to know as a catholic is what --
>> we'll be better off with a ceo, young ceo rather than a theologian?
>> i think we need a holy man. i don't think we need a theologian. a holy man who knows how to deal with people.
>> i think we need matt dylan. your thoughts, mary . what kind of pope do we need?
>> we need a pope who connects with people. we need a pope who has an open mind . someone who is open to change and to imagining new things for the church . somebody that can make people excited about living lives of meaning.
>> i think we need pope john xxiii come back. i bet pope john xxiv. thank you, michael winters and mary .
>>> up next, stars of the new movie "olympus," what an exciting movie it is. it's about north koreans of all people taking over the presidency, getting into the white house . real terrorist operation. a real thriller. looks great. gerard butler , aaron eckhart , angela basset all come to sit at this table in a minute. you're watching "hardball," the place for