By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Is it so surprising that many prominent Catholics are taking aim at Roman Polanski's lefty defenders after the filmmaker's arrest last weekend, wondering how the Hollywood set would respond if a priest had admitted to having sex with a minor, as Polanski has?
I guess not.
But what is noteworthy about the Catholics speaking out against Polanski's generally liberal apologists is that they are overwhelmingly liberal themselves. Progressive Catholic blogs are downright apoplectic today about what they say is a double standard for celebrities like Polanski and the Roman Catholic Church when it comes to sex abuse scandals.
Here's Georgetown University's Thomas Reese, proud lefty:
Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.
And they would all be correct. And I would join them.
But why is there not similar outrage directed at the film industry for giving an award to Roman Polanski, who not only confessed to statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the country prior to sentencing?
Here's Jim Martin, an editor and writer at the liberal Catholic magazine America:
Can you imagine a petition being circulated among actors, directors and producers in the United States to have a Catholic priest reinstated in his parish after he had abused a 13-year-old child? If you believe this about Polanski—that his good deeds offset his guilt and that enough time has past—do you believe the same about pedophile priests?
And here's Politics Daily's left-leaning Catholic scribe David Gibson:
There is the obvious parallel to the cases in the Catholic Church, which have rightly scandalized the public and the media. Prosecutors and plaintiffs' attorneys have been dogged in pursuing these cases—whether out of concern for their careers or for justice—and the outrage was so widespread that the State of California created a one-year window in 2003 during which the statute of limitations on abuse crimes by Catholic priests (and others) was lifted. That meant the victims of men who were often long dead could finally get their day in court, or find some sense of justice and closure—and for cases that were no more egregious than Polanski's abuse of Geimer. Polanski is alive, at least.
More conservative Catholic blogs have been relatively quiet about the Polanski arrest, at least so far. For the moment, the debate over how to treat Polanski is mostly a family feud among political allies: the left's serious Catholics and its Tinseltown honchos.