Ex-Pope Benedict Breaks Silence About Clergy Sex Abuse
Pope Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI recently gave his perspective on the clergy abuse scandal gripping the Catholic Church. In a 6,000-word essay that was published in Italian and translated into English by the Catholic News Agency, Pope Benedict theorized that the loosening of moral standards in the 1960s and the failure of the leaders of the church in upholding traditional Christian values led to the sex abuse crisis in the church. Pope Benedict claims that he broke his silence because he was motivated by the recent summit in Rome on clergy abuse and wanted to provide his perspective to enhance the discussion on the subject.
He argued that in the period between 1960 through 1980, traditional values regarding sexuality were dismantled and pedophilia and pornography became normalized and widely accepted. He claimed that the Catholic Church was not able to defend itself against the loosening moral tide. He lamented that the prevailing culture no longer believed in any absolute good or evil, only shades of good and evil. He further claimed that the breakdown of moral values contributed to the poor preparation of clergy to priesthood. Pope Benedict held similar views while he was the Pope but remained silent after retirement in deference and to relinquish full authority to Pope Francis. It was surprising that he chose this moment to step out and express his views on this matter.
Differing Views Among Catholic Church Officials
The current Pope Francis has expressed a contrasting opinion. He has stated that the elevation of priests and bishops and the subsequent authority and power enjoyed by them resulted in corruption and lack of accountability in the Church. It is notable that there are now two divergent views from the Popes on the causes of the sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
Many experts and media characterize this interjection by Pope Benedict as offering an alternative to the more liberal papacy led by Pope Francis. Many predict that this intervention by the former Pope is bad for the Church as it fails to depict a unified Church with one voice on a matter of intense debate. No matter where one stands on this issue, everyone would agree that the Catholic Church has never faced anything more divisive.
Although, under the leadership of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church is slowly addressing the issues surrounding clergy sex abuse, the state of New Jersey is actively prosecuting clergy sex abuse cases. The Archdiocese of New Jersey has been compelled to turn over records related to its investigations of the sexual abuse. There have been other investigations conducted in Catholic churches and schools as well.
The acknowledgment of the issue is a marked shift in the Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis and may offer hope to the survivors of such abuse. However, survivors of clergy sex abuse can seek redress for the emotional and physical turmoil they have faced. Victims of clergy sex abuse no longer have to hide and suffer alone; they can seek justice and hold their perpetrators accountable.
New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Justice
If you have suffered sexual abuse by a priest or clergy member in a school or at church, contact the New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr for a free consultation. Contact us online or call 732-249-4600 today. Our sensitive and experienced attorneys will prepare your case and fight for you. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and surrounding areas including New Brunswick, Somerset, South Plainfield, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Bound Brook, Iselin, Old Bridge, Middlesex, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, and Fords.