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126,217. Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence in a rare essay on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, claiming that it was caused in part by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of the church’s moral teaching.
In the 11-page analysis published today in a German magazine for priests, Klerusblatt, the former Pope also reveals some of the behind-the-scenes struggles between the Vatican and American bishops in handling the crisis and admits that the Vatican was initially overwhelmed in dealing with it.
Catholic News Agency first published the letter in English on Wednesday afternoon.
A top Vatican official has confirmed the essay’s authenticity to CNN. Since his resignation in 2013, Benedict has rarely left his monastery high on a hill in Vatican City. In his farewell address as pope, Benedict promised to stay ‘hidden’ from the world, though he has spoken out occasionally on church matters.
Nearly 92, Benedict appears to be frail but in relatively good health.
‘Since I myself had served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the Church at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, and during the run-up to it, I had to ask myself – even though, as emeritus, I am no longer directly responsible – what I could contribute to a new beginning’, Benedict wrote, in explaining why he is speaking out now.
But his comments on the sex abuse crisis seem certain to inflame tensions between conservative Catholics, who largely blame homosexuality and lax sexual ethics for the scandal, and liberals, who say there is no known connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
As word of Benedict’s essay spread Wednesday evening, conservative Catholics hailed it, while others called it ‘embarrassing’.
‘This is an embarrassing letter. The idea that ecclesial abuse of children was a result of the 1960s, a supposed collapse of moral theology, and ‘conciliarity’ is an embarrassingly wrong explanation for the systemic abuse of children and its coverup’, wrote Catholic theologian Brian Flanagan on Twitter. CNN online article 11 April 2019, ‘Ex-Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence on church’s sex abuse crisis and blames the sexual revolution and liberals’
59,244. The fabric of Christian faith and dogma was torn in pieces and continued to undergo even further schisms. For the first time in its history Christianity starts to come apart. It’s no longer one Catholic church. And for potential disbelievers these disagreements, this sectarianism, was seen as evidence that perhaps none of the dogma might be true. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) Dr Jonathan Miller, A Rough History of Disbelief
59,245. Germany 1493: a time of desolation and disease. Where the plague could wipe out entire towns in days. And a quarter of all children died before they were five. In this world there was one great consolation: the Church and its promise of heaven. (Reformation & Plague & Protestantism & Catholicism) Martin Luther I: Driven to Defiance PBS
59,246. Also corrupt and tyrannical. An empire that would be overturned by one man: Martin Luther. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,247. The church exerted as much control over life on Earth as it did in Heaven. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,248. The Black Death had killed almost a half of Europe’s population in the previous hundred years. (Reformation & Plague & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,249. The more his despair the more Luther threw himself into the rituals of the Church. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,250. The papacy even wielded military power. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,251. Luther’s trip to Rome had brought only disillusion and doubt. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,252. Selling Indulgencies – charging the faithful for entry into Heaven. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,253. 31st October 1517 Luther sat down and penned a furious litany of criticism. Ninety-five stinging bullet-points. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,254. The thesis would spread like wildfire. (Reformation & Protestant- -ism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,255. The penalty for heresy was death. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,256. The Church’s greatest conflict in its history. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,257. 95 theses – 95 stinging attacks on the mighty Catholic church and its head the Pope. Luther has no idea that with his one gesture he has unleashed a hurricane. A storm of violence that will rage across Europe. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) Martin Luther II: The Reluctant Revolutionary PBS
59,258. Luther was charged with heresy. Only a hundred years before a man named … had criticised the Church for much the same reasons as Luther. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,259. Luther painted a vivid picture of the financial drain that was Rome. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,260. Luther and his followers were beginning to see the struggle with Rome was an epic battle with the devil himself. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,261. To set down in detail a whole new system of faith. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,262. Luther now attacked the very heart of the Church’s power - the system of sacraments. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism & Sacrament) ibid.
59,263. In the winter of 1520 Luther finally received the bull of excommunication from Rome. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism & Excommunication) ibid.
59,264. A depression that was accompanied by a vivid sense that the devil was haunting him. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,265. An unstoppable rebellion and spreading from the grass roots up. The first steps of what would become the Reformation. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,266. A series of peasant uprisings flared up across the country. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,267. Luther would always hold to this vision of apocalyptic Biblical conflict. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,268. After the peasants, one of his most infamous targets would be Judaism. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,269. Protestantism swept across Germany and then onto France, the Netherlands, Belgium. But in every place it took a different form. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,270. Luther would finally die in the year 1546 seized by a crippling heart attack. (Reformation & Protestantism & Catholicism) ibid.
59,278. Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant?
I said that I had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that I had lost self-respect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent? (Protestantism & Catholicism) James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
59,457. Now I warned and warned that Satan would enter into the highest realms of the hierarchy in Rome. The third secret, my child, is that Satan would enter into my son’s Church. (Vatican & Catholicism) Our Lady of the Roses, 13th May 1978
59,898. You will notice that in all disputes between Christians since the birth of the Church, Rome has always favoured the doctrine which most completely subjugated the human mind and annihilated reason. (Rome & Christianity & Catholicism) Voltaire
60,075. Within the Catholic Church is a powerful group. Opus Dei ... Critics call it secretive and cult-like. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) Decoding the Past: Opus Dei
60,076. It began in 1928 with a divine inspiration experienced by a devout Spanish priest. Following what he believed was God’s holy call Father Josemaria Escriva formed a new Catholic group. He would later name it Opus Dei, Latin for God’s work. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,077. The Da Vinci Code also dramatically introduces the controversial ritual of corporal mortification. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,078. Opus Dei has 87,000 members in 61 countries. Its membership is comprised mostly of lay people. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,079. Escriva and Opus Dei have been repeatedly accused of supporting Franco’s fascists and repressive reign. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,080. Later in 1939 Escriva published The Way, his book of 199 short passages known as Maxims. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,081. But many of their practices invite suspicion and scepticism ... What separates Opus Dei members from other Catholic lay organisations is their rigorous daily routine. Members attend mass and receive communion daily. Prayer is constant. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,082. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Opus Dei is the practise of corporal mortification. Acts of self-denial or voluntary pain as penance, a kind of bodily sacrifice. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,083. But it’s the more extreme forms of mortification practised by the numeries that draw the most scrutiny. (Opus Dei & Catholicism) ibid.
60,099. The Knights of Malta are the militia of the Pope, and are sworn to total obedience by a blood oath which is taken extremely seriously and to the death. Albert G Mackey, Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry
60,100. The Order of St John was founded in Jerusalem to care for sick pilgrims. By 1530 its base was the Mediterranean island of Malta. Part monk, part soldier, the knights of Malta dedicated themselves to the spiritual and military defence of Christianity. Ancient Discoveries: Secret Science of the Occult