‘Benedict in the Dock’
From our April 9 editorial, recently posted on our homepage:
In his last years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and from the beginning of his papacy, Pope Benedict has demonstrated a real understanding of the nature and scope of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis. He came to that understanding much too slowly, but once he grasped the dimensions and horror of the scandal he acted with diligence and genuine remorse, accelerating the process for removing priests, meeting with victims, and demanding at least some measure of accountability from his fellow bishops.
Much of the pope’s good work in this regard is now likely to be brushed aside as the history of his own negligence in handling an abusive priest when he was archbishop of Munich thirty years ago comes to light. It should not be surprising that then-Archbishop Ratzinger accepted an offending priest from another diocese, placed him in therapy, and immediately reassigned him to another parish where he abused more children. Burying rather than confronting the problem of abusive priests is what nearly every bishop did at the time.
Why did bishops insist on holding on to priests and thereby endangering children? The answer is more complicated than many want to admit, involving archaic ideas about the remedy for sexual sin, troubling notions about the sacrosanct nature of the priesthood, and a different societal attitude about how to respond to such abuse.
Read the rest right here.