Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has broken six years of relative silence with the release of an outspoken letter on the clergy sex abuse scandal. We want to hear what you think about this article. Tom Gjelten. After apologizing for his comments, the pope met with Chilean abuse survivors to hear their stories.
The new law institutes a detailed mechanism for reporting allegations against bishops, and offers protections to whistle-blowers. For abuse survivors who have lived through relentless cycles of denial and deflection from Church leaders, which have never stoppedthe motu proprio may be deeply unsatisfactory.
It is, nevertheless, remarkable to have two popes speaking simultaneously on the most divisive issue facing the church, and Benedict's letter may well raise concerns that the Vatican can no longer speak with a single voice. But American Catholics could not solve this issue on their own.
It acknowledges that various countries may require Catholic leaders to report abuse allegations to civil authorities, but does not state that this is required. We want to hear what you think about this article. Since then, horror stories of Catholic sexual abuse have kept coming, including the case of an Indian bishop who allegedly raped a nun pope benedict sex abuse charges in Maple Ridzhruen over a two-year period and the criminal conviction of a top Australian cardinal, George Pell, for molesting two choirboys decades ago.
In his 6,word essay, published Thursday in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serawith an English translation by the Catholic News Agency, Benedict blames the epidemic of clergy sex abuse largely on a collapse of moral standards in the s and the subsequent failure of Catholic leaders to uphold traditional church teaching.
These accountability measures for bishops matter in part because a few of these leaders played notorious roles in covering up sexual-abuse scandals across the world, especially in moving accused priests to different posts when allegations arose. The new motu proprio does not erase these crimes, or necessarily stop them from taking place in the future.
It is now up to the Church to fulfill that promise. They needed guidelines from the very highest level of the Church to put in place new standards of accountability and behavior. Though Benedict stops short of blaming gay priests for the epidemic of minor abuse, as some havehe claims that "homosexual cliques" were established "more or less openly" in Catholic seminaries, thus changing the seminary climate in such a way as pope benedict sex abuse charges in Maple Ridzhruen contribute to a breakdown in the preparation of priests for their ministry.
He says he was motivated to write his letter by the recent Rome summit on clergy abuse, convened by Francis, and that he intended his comments to be "a helpful contribution. In the United States, where the sexual-abuse scandal has been especially acute , bishops have long had requirements in place around reporting allegations of abuse and working with outside authorities.
What the motu proprio does not do is establish mechanisms for reporting abuse allegations outside of the Catholic hierarchy. Francis has argued that the clergy abuse crisis is rooted in a culture of clericalism, where priests and bishops became so elevated that their word and authority dominate over the experience of the people they serve, thus contributing to a lack of accountability.
The new law is not a panacea, however: It does not detail specific punishments for Church leaders who violate these norms, and it does not mandate the involvement of authorities outside the Church.