Pope Benedict XVI is coming to visit the United States for the first time as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. No doubt, he’ll face criticism within the church as well as those not affiliated with the Catholic Church for his handling of the priest abuse scandal. Before he was Pope Benedict XVI, he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican point man for handling wayward priests who abused children. One of his lieutenants, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti characterized the priest abuse scandal as nothing more than media hype. I’m pretty sure he’ll be hearing quite a bit about that comment when he arrives on US soil. The last thing he needs right now is to have one of his lieutenants dismissing the sexual abuse of children as a mere media creation. It would be better for him and survivors if he dealt frankly and openly with the issue. This isn’t a matter of Catholic bashing by those who hate the church. Such loyal Catholics as the late William Buckley, Jr. and Peggy Noonan have decried the scandal as offensive and a blight on the church. As chief shepherd of the flock, Benedict needs to take the forefront and unequivocally condemn it for what it is.