But it's the Catholic element that really helps in these situations. Making fun of paedophile Catholics has become a truly international pastime recently – it turns out that humour really is something that brings nations together. Everyone has Catholics in their country, and they're almost always funny, even when they're not getting done for child abuse. Those funny little pictures, the obsession with their mothers, their odd accents, their alcoholism, their strange insistence on being wrong about everything – it all adds up to comedy gold.
That is why the media loves a good Catholic to bait.
Bishop Mixa really likes to stir the pot, mingling his ideas in the current debate by combining his own special blend (I'll stop it now) of Catholic bonkers-ness into his pronouncements. He is of course one of Germany's more media-savvy high priests. Mixa can spot a good headline coming a mile off - atheism leads to genocide and therefore East Germans like to kill their babies – all a newspaper writer needs to do is add the capital letters.
But now the Catholic child abuse scandal has caught up with him too. Except he is not accused of sexually abusing them, but of smacking them with a carpet beater. A number of former children have come out to say they were hit by Mixa in the 1970s, and one even pointed out that his pants were pulled down. Now, I'm not saying it was a non-stop party at St. Josef's children's home in Schrobenhausen in Bavaria in the 1970s. I dare say there was more fun to be had in Greenwich Village, for example. But frankly, a LOT of kids were hit with carpet beaters in those days. Especially in Bavaria. In fact, that is probably what they thought carpet beaters were for. Indeed, in certain variations of the Bavarian dialect the word for "carpet" meant "child." I'm sorry, but this is one thing you can't blame the Catholics for.
As William Archibald Spooner once said, "The Lord is a shoving leopard."