With the latest revelations by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, a clear picture begins to emerge from what had been a haze of confusion about the Vatican's approach to sex-abuse complaints.
There was a conflict within the Roman Curia over how these complaints should be handled. That conflict apparently endured through much of the pontificate of John Paul II. It ended with the election of Benedict XVI.
… The Congregation for the Clergy, under Cardinal Castrillon, argued for protective treatment of accused abusers. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Ratzinger, argued for decisive disciplinary action. Sometimes Cardinal Ratzinger had his way, as in the handling of the Groër case; sometimes he was frustrated, as with Maciel case; sometimes the results were indecisive, as with the Burresi case.
Then in 2001, after the abuse scandal exploded in the US, Cardinal Ratzinger won a major victory, with the assignment of abuse cases to the CDF. The lenient attitude of the Congregation for Clergy was no longer a factor; prompt and serious discipline was possible. The second, decisive victory came in 2005 with the election of Pope Ratzinger. Within weeks the Maciel and Burresi cases were resolved.
That to which Lawler refers about Cdl. Hoyos is basically the following, as reported in another article from Catholic World News:
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has escalated his defense of a policy that protected priests from prosecution for sexual abuse. Meanwhile the National Catholic Reporter has unearthed evidence that Cardinal Castrillon pressured an American bishop to halt disciplinary proceedings against a notorious abuser.
In an April 22 radio interview, Cardinal Castrillon said that he did not regret writing in 2001 to congratulate a French bishop for not informing police about an abusive priest. He said that for a bishop to inform on a priest would be like a father testifying in court against a child. "Why would they ask that of the Church?" he said.
Without making any definitive judgments about Hoyos' soul and penitential status in the Church, I must say this is one of the worst cases of clericalism I've seen. It's like my confessor told me this afternoon, "Don't feel too bad if you don't have moral credibility. The Church has always been that way. It really is like a sinking ship––and it really looks like it's about to sink at any moment––but we have to keep going. That's why we have faith, the hope to keep us going." It certainly is what's keeping me going. Confessed, cleansed, chastened, clear-in-waiting. Hear Christ:
[Luke 6:21] "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!  Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
 "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
 "Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
 "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
 "But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
I doubt there are harder words to hear and heed from our Lord than the above at times like these, especially that last clause as it strikes the wounded ears of the abused victims. Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!