Ex-Pope Benedict XVI published a letter blaming the continuing issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on the 1960’s sexual revolution.
The former pope, leader of the Catholic Church from 2005 until his sudden retirement in 2013, asserts the historical and cultural changes of the 1960’s led to an abandonment of traditional Catholic morality. Further, the retired pope declares this deviation from Catholic moral theology caused a “collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society.”
The ex-pope calls out specific events, such as the protests of 1968 and changes in Catholic educational institutions, to lend to his claims in the letter. Benedict XVI implies that, overall, the 1960’s led to a time when the lines were blurred between right and wrong in terms of sexuality, claiming that the “all out sexual freedom” led to clerical sex abuse.
“Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was…all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms” stated Benedict XVI at the beginning of his letter. The former pope asserts the sexual revolution allowed paedophilia to be “diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.”
The expansive 5,500 word letter attempts to analyze clerical sexual abuse by separating the issue into three parts: the 1960’s sexual revolution, changes in theology after the Second Vatican Council, and modern society straying from the Word of God.
Benedict XVI’s letter sparked argumentation over the validity of the ex-pope’s words. Contention over the letter’s content not only erupted amongst the general public, but Catholic theologians and clergy members, as well.
As pointed out by many who read the retired pope’s words, the letter neglects to examine how Catholic church heiarchy contriubuted to widespread sexual abuse. Also, the letter fails to acknowledge that systematic abuse plays a huge part in the sexual abuse cases coming out of the Catholic Church.
“The willingness to blame a permissive culture and progressive theology for a problem that is internal and structural is stunning,” commentated Julie Hanlon Rubio, a professor at Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology who specializes in social ethics.
Additionally, critiques remark that the letter fails to address the ex-pope’s controversial 24-year stint of leading the Catholic Church, one that included a similar flood of clerical sexual abuse cases coming into the public eye.
Benedict XVI’s solution to the sexual abuse problem running rampant in the Catholic Church is “obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ”. While Pope Benedict XVI praises Pope Francis’s efforts in showing the public “the light of God”, Pope Benedict’s words fall short in action and efforts to fix the horrifying perpetuation of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, who called a summit in February 2019 to address the widespread crime of clerical sexual abuse, strives for “concrete measures” within the Catholic Church to combat the crisis, not relying upon “simple and obvious condemnations”.
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