Pope emeritus Benedict XVI recently issued an extended essay giving his thoughts on the sexual abuse scandal in the Church. Benedict said that he was motivated to write the essay after the February abuse summit convened by Pope Francis. Stating that because he had served in a position of responsibility at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, he considered what he "could contribute to a new beginning."
In the roughly 6,000-word statement, Benedict explains what he sees as the foundation of the crisis, the effects it has had on the formation and lives of priests, and how the Church should respond. Benedict writes that much of the blame is to be found in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and a collapse of moral theology since the Second Vatican Council, both of which caused a breakdown of priestly formation. Benedict also highlights difficulties in canon law and the Church's perception of criminal law in the 1980s that led to a view that "the rights of the accused had to be guaranteed, to an extent that factually excluded any conviction at all." Benedict argues that canon law must contain a "double guarantee" that provides protections for both the accused and the Faith.
In the final portion of the essay, Benedict discusses what must be done to move forward. Specifically, he indicates that we must once again place God in the "center of our thoughts, words and actions," including "the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament."
To read the essay in its entirety, please visit the National Catholic Register website.
April 12, 2019 - 10:44am