Have a look at a heated intramural exchange on the Washington Post op-ed page. On Monday, Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, compared the Catholic abuse scandal to Watergate. Marc Thiessen, a conservative veteran of more than a few pundit wars, took exception to the analogy, and demands Shriver apologize to the pope.

  • Catholic Abuse Scandal = Watergate  "Then," explains Shriver, "what started as a crime committed by a few burglars slowly escalated to reveal corruption at the highest levels of authority." Though he says the parallels break down around resignation--the pope isn't going to resign--he notes a few other similarities:
The equivalent of the Watergate tapes have blown open the church's calm. The Cardinal Archbishop of Ireland was involved in not only a failure to act but appears to have been an active agent of cover-up. And the trail seems to be leading even higher: the pope himself, while an archbishop in Munich, may have played a role in failing to respond to abuse.
  • 'Shameful' Comparison, responds Thiessen. "The obvious flaw in Shriver's analogy? The break-in at the Watergate complex was not a 'third-rate burglary' but part of a political spying operation directed at the highest levels of the Nixon administration." The pope did not "personally [order] the molestation of children by pedophile priests. Is this what Shriver is suggesting?" asks the irate commentator. "If not, he needs to correct the record--and apologize to the Holy Father."