Benedict The Sixteenth Pens Major Essay On Abuse Crisis Roots

Tags: Currents Catholic Education, Media, Pope Francis, World News

Currents News Staff

Since his resignation in 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has rarely left his monastery. In his farewell address, he promised to stay “hidden” from the world.

But the former Pope has broken his silence, with a rare essay addressing the sex abuse crisis.


Benedict writing “the matter begins with the state-prescribed and supported introduction of children and youths into the nature of sexuality.”

The 11 page analysis published today in a German magazine for priests, highlights what Benedict says is the root of the scandal: the sexual revolution of the 1960s and a Post-Vatican II “collapse” in Catholic moral theology.

“Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society,” he writes.

John Allen, the Editor of Crux, notes there is a common thread between these two reflections from the nearly 92-year-old leader.

“In his mind what they have in common basically is an abandonment of traditional morality, the idea that there is such a thing as absolute good and absolute evil. The remedy is a recovery of faith,” said Allen.

Many believe the document is an acknowledgement that Benedict realizes he has a role to play in helping the Catholic Church come to terms with the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

He addressed the crisis for the first time during a 2010 news conference aboard the Papal Plane during a flight to the United Kingdom saying, “it is a great sadness. It is sad also that the church authorities were not vigilant enough, were not sufficiently quick and decisive in taking the necessary measures.” Adding, “what is most important are the victims. What we can do to protect them, what we can do to help these persons overcome this trauma, to restore their life, and also to restore their trust in the message of Christ.”

John Allen notes Benedict’s long-standing views on justice as it relates to accused priests.

“He felt that there was too much emphasis on the rights of accused priests and not enough emphasis on protecting the humanity for harm,” Allen said.

Benedict admits he was motivated to write the essay after the February summit on the protection of minors convened by Pope Francis.
He sought the pontiff’s permission before going public with his thoughts. A formality which underscores the deep respect both men share for each other.

“On Twitter and in the blogosphere, you know people love to pit Francis and Benedict against one another, you know Francis is the liberal champion of reform and Benedict the traditional stick in the mud. You know the last two people on earth who buy that narrative? Are Francis and Benedict,” said Allen.