The bizarre, feeble attempts to beat back the scandals that are collapsing the Catholic Church continue, and in this piece by the AP's Nicole Winfield, we get a peek at the man closest to Pope Benedict, a man with him for over a decade, who rarely turns up in the media other than in stories about how hunky he is, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein.

Benedict's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, spoke out Tuesday for the first time since the scandal broke, defending the pope's prolonged silence on the German cases and charging that Benedict had done more than anyone else to crack down on abuse.

"It does not make sense, nor is it helpful, for the Holy Father to comment personally on each case," he told the daily Bild, Germany's highest-circulation newspaper. "It is overlooked too fast that various bishops and bishops conferences carry responsibility."

According to the NYDN, "with his chiseled face, blond-brown hair and crisp attire he is fast becoming the poster boy of the Catholic Church." and "Designer Donatella Versace described his austerity as "very elegant" and said he was the inspiration behind her line of clerical-collar-style hunky black jackets."

But back to the coverup damage control. There seems to be a fantasy in the Vatican that if they just gas up the Papal jet and fly somewhere to meet the victims raped and molested by the church's pedophile priests that it will make things all right -- as long as he doesn't have to deal with "media pressures."

The revved-up strategy comes as the Vatican tries to stem the damage from weeks of revelations about priests who raped and molested children - and the church officials who kept it quiet - before the pontiff's visit to Malta this weekend. Abuse victims on that majority Roman Catholic Mediterranean island are seeking a papal audience and apology.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi declined Tuesday to confirm whether Benedict would meet with victims, but didn't rule it out. The pope is prepared to meet with victims, Lombardi said, but "in a climate of meditation and reflection, not under media pressures."

Before previous foreign trips, Lombardi has declined to confirm meetings with abuse victims until after they were held.

There was one hilarious revelation that I had not heard before in terms of the official blame game. Apparently the vastconspiracy to destroy the Catholic church regarding its criminal pedophile protection enterprise boils down to...advocates of marriage equality and the right to choose.

Initially, the Vatican responded defensively, with Vatican officials and cardinals accusing the media, the Masons, pro-abortion rights and pro-gay marriage supporters for plotting attacks against the pope. Recently, the Vatican has shifted course, still complaining about an anti-Catholic campaign but also promising more transparency and taking initiatives to at least give an impression that change is afoot.