You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

[Trigger warning for clergy abuse.]

Pope Benedict XVI says the Church's child abuse scandal shows that the greatest threat to Catholicism comes from "sin within" the Church.

"Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church," the pontiff told reporters on a plane bound for Portugal.
Okay, first of all, the Catholic Church is not being persecuted. Let's just get that out of the way right now. Political prisoners, women being raped as a weapon of war, trans men and women assaulted by bigots, gay teens bullied at school, children being abused by parents, ethnic minorities denied basic rights, people who don't conform to dominant religious faiths (including, perhaps, individual Catholics in some places), marginalized people all over the world—these are people who are persecuted. A vast international organization with its own country and immeasurable wealth and influence, whose members are shielded from the law, is not suffering from persecution. And the mere suggestion is almost incomprehensibly vulgar.

People and institutions persecute. "Sin" doesn't. The "sin" being committed by predator priests is making the Church look bad, not persecuting it—and the wall of silence (sans the occasional gay-scapegoating rape apologia) that the Church has constructed around that "sin" is doing its fair share to make the Church look bad, too.

The only thing of which the Church is a victim is its own crushing corruption, cloaked in an impenetrable, arrogant, self-pitying conceit that allows it to see itself as the primary sufferers at the hands of predator priests, and the actual children and adults they assaulted as nothing but inconvenient evidence of the "sin" that the Church is forced to publicly bear. Boo fucking hoo.

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