PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

The Pope Emeritus has a fascinating essay looking at the sex abuse crisis in the Church:

A society without God — a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent — is a society that loses its measure. In our day, the catchphrase of God’s death was coined. When God does die in a society, it becomes free, we were assured. In reality, the death of God in a society also means the end of freedom, because what dies is the purpose that provides orientation. And because the compass disappears that points us in the right direction by teaching us to distinguish good from evil. Western society is a society in which God is absent in the public sphere and has nothing left to offer it. And that is why it is a society in which the measure of humanity is increasingly lost. At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.

That is the case with pedophilia. It was theorized only a short time ago as quite legitimate, but it has spread further and further. And now we realize with shock that things are happening to our children and young people that threaten to destroy them. The fact that this could also spread in the Church and among priests ought to disturb us in particular.

Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. We Christians and priests also prefer not to talk about God, because this speech does not seem to be practical. After the upheaval of the Second World War, we in Germany had still expressly placed our Constitution under the responsibility to God as a guiding principle. Half a century later, it was no longer possible to include responsibility to God as a guiding principle in the European constitution. God is regarded as the party concern of a small group and can no longer stand as the guiding principle for the community as a whole. This decision reflects the situation in the West, where God has become the private affair of a minority.

A paramount task, which must result from the moral upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto Him. Above all, we ourselves must learn again to recognize God as the foundation of our life instead of leaving Him aside as a somehow ineffective phrase. I will never forget the warning that the great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once wrote to me on one of his letter cards. “Do not presuppose the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but present them!”

Indeed, in theology God is often taken for granted as a matter of course, but concretely one does not deal with Him. The theme of God seems so unreal, so far removed from the things that concern us. And yet everything becomes different if one does not presuppose but present God. Not somehow leaving Him in the background, but recognizing Him as the center of our thoughts, words and actions.

(2) God became man for us. Man as His creature is so close to His heart that He has united himself with him and has thus entered human history in a very practical way. He speaks with us, He lives with us, He suffers with us and He took death upon Himself for us. We talk about this in detail in theology, with learned words and thoughts. But it is precisely in this way that we run the risk of becoming masters of faith instead of being renewed and mastered by the Faith.

Let us consider this with regard to a central issue, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern. The Second Vatican Council was rightly focused on returning this sacrament of the Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the Presence of His Person, of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, to the center of Christian life and the very existence of the Church. In part, this really has come about, and we should be most grateful to the Lord for it.

And yet a rather different attitude is prevalent. What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians of today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. The Eucharist is devalued into a mere ceremonial gesture when it is taken for granted that courtesy requires Him to be offered at family celebrations or on occasions such as weddings and funerals to all those invited for family reasons.

The way people often simply receive the Holy Sacrament in communion as a matter of course shows that many see communion as a purely ceremonial gesture. Therefore, when thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another Church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament.

In conversations with victims of pedophilia, I have been made acutely aware of this first and foremost requirement. A young woman who was a [former] altar server told me that the chaplain, her superior as an altar server, always introduced the sexual abuse he was committing against her with the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you.”

Go here to read the rest.

This brings to mind this quote by Solzhenitsyn:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

 

More to explorer

Just When You Think the New York Times Can’t Go Any Lower

Yep, all equal as slaves of the State.

No Comment Needed

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.

July 18, 1969: Entering the Gravity of the Moon

Fifty years ago Apollo 11 entered the gravity well of the Moon from the gravity well of the Earth.  Three-quarters of the

18 Comments

  1. “A young woman who was a [former] altar server told me that the chaplain, her superior as an altar server, always introduced the sexual abuse he was committing against her with the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you.”
    It is a grave sin to say the words of Jesus Christ: “This is my Body which will be given up for you.” by anyone except an ordained priest during the Consecration at Holy Mass.
    “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
    In forgetting God, men have lost their soul, their rational soul. Without reason, men have become insane. Without their conscience, men no longer know their right hand fro their left hand.
    Without their rational soul, men no longer have any reason to exist. If man is a rational animal without reason, he is not an animal, he is only half a man.

  2. Progress and Prosperity can only happen in creation. In the mind of man, Progress and Prosperity can happen since man is creation. “Remember man that thou art dust and to dust thou shall return.”

  3. “A young woman who was a [former] altar server told me that the chaplain, her superior as an altar server, always introduced the sexual abuse he was committing against her with the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you.”

    This is utterly horrific. I can’t imagine what sort of human being masking as an ordained priest would say and do such a thing. The damage this would have caused the
    young girl is unthinkable. We need to have very tough screening measures for those entering the priesthood, going forward. It has to be highly scrutinised. It does not matter how much of a shortage of priests we have, the Church cannot allow just anyone to be a priest without stringent vetting.

  4. This blogger had some thoughts on the scandal too that seem wise.

    I think there is a lot of truth to Benedict’s words, but he still seems to be dodging that core point. To quote CS Lewis on forgiveness.

    I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says, “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites.

    Of course, in dozens of cases, either between God and man, or between one man and another, there may be a mixture of the two. Part of what at first seemed to be the sins turns out to be really nobody’s fault and is excused; the bit that is left over is forgiven. If you had a perfect excuse, you would not need forgiveness; if the whole of your actions needs forgiveness, then there was no excuse for it. But the trouble is that what we call “asking God’s forgiveness” very often really consists in asking God to accept our excuses.

    What leads us into this mistake is the fact that there usually is some amount of excuse, some “extenuating circumstances.” We are so very anxious to point these things out to God (and to ourselves) that we are apt to forget the very important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which excuses don’t cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable. And if we forget this, we shall go away imagining that we have repented and been forgiven when all that has really happened is that we have satisfied ourselves without own excuses. They may be very bad excuses; we are all too easily satisfied about ourselves.

  5. We need to have very tough screening measures for those entering the priesthood, going forward. It has to be highly scrutinised. It does not matter how much of a shortage of priests we have, the Church cannot allow just anyone to be a priest “without stringent vetting.”
    Our seminaries are teaching that sodomy is not a sin. Sodomy is assault and battery of the human body.
    Unless a man sublimate himself to God before ordination to Holy Orders. he may not be ordained at all.
    Justice is predicated on intent. What is the abuser intent? To worship God, to satisfy the victim or to satisfy himself, his addiction to his lust?
    In the Old Testament when a man raped a girl he was to support her for the rest of her life. Defrock the abusers and force them to support their victims for as long as possible and forever.

    “We are so very anxious to point these things out to God (and to ourselves) that we are apt to forget the very important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which excuses don’t cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable.”
    The devil made me do it. Evil is finite.
    The gates of heaven are infinitely open to the devil. The devil has chosen to reject God.

  6. This article said nothing we didn’t already know. Nothing addressing the McCarrick situation or the Viganò testimony.

    I would think Popewatch find the following statement disturbing enough to comment on:

    “At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!“

    An encomium to the man who used the Chair of Peter to protect some of the worst predators. Heartbreaking to say the least.

  7. “At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!“

    The substance of what he writes contradicts that tacked on pro forma obeisance to his successor. Pope Benedict is not going to directly challenge his successor and set a precedent that would be highly damaging to the Church. The fact that he wrote this at all is a sign that he is not pleased with the path taken by his successor.

  8. The fact that Ratzinger sought Pope Francis’ prior approval indicates that what he wrote is NOT evidence of his displeasure of the path of his successor. There is nothing in the substance of that letter than can be construed as such.

    One can give pro forma obeisance without effusive praise.

    Wait a second! You’re saying that Archbishop Ratzinger directly challenging his successor would be damaging to the Church then you say the letter’s substance is just that, albeit subtle.

    Why do I refer to him as Abp. Ratzinger? Because that’s who he is now. Once he became pope, he ceased being a Cardinal. Now that he is no longer pope, he is no longer Benedict XVI, but Archbishop Ratzinger. The term Pope Emeritus is some BS he cooked up with Archbishop Gänswein on his way out the door. Once he abdicated the papacy, he should have relinquished all trappings of the office. In fact, I think his successor should have required him to do so. The failure of such has in fact damaged the Church.

  9. NPR, for once, gets it right:

    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has broken six years of relative silence with the release of an outspoken letter on the clergy sex abuse scandal. Benedict’s analysis differs significantly from that of his successor, Pope Francis, and thus leaves the world’s Catholics with contrasting papal perspectives on the greatest crisis facing Roman Catholicism today.

    In his 6,000-word essay, published Thursday in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, with 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 1960s and the subsequent failure of Catholic leaders to uphold traditional church teaching.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/11/712409110/pope-benedict-breaks-6-year-silence-to-comment-on-clergy-sex-abuse-scandal

    Even the National Catholic Reporter gets it:

    Even the Vatican appears to be struggling to understand what to do with a former pope who wants to engage in public debate. As Benedict’s latest letter appeared on several right-wing Catholic websites overnight April 10, the Holy See Press Office seemed unprepared, unable even to respond to questions about whether the text was authentic.

    In fact it was Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, that confirmed for many journalists that the text was indeed from the former pontiff.

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/theologians-concerned-about-newly-engaged-role-benedict-pope-emeritus

    A nice rundown of reactions at Lifesite News:
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/francis-supporters-embarrassed-by-benedicts-abuse-crisis-letter.-others-call-it-extraordinary

    Phil Lawler nails it:

    After six years of public silence, broken only by a few mild personal comments, Pope-emeritus Benedict has spoken out dramatically, with a 6,000-word essay on sexual abuse that has been described as a sort of post-papal encyclical. Clearly the retired Pontiff felt compelled to write: to say things that were not being said. Benedict thought the subject was too important to allow for his continued silence.

    Vatican communications officials thought differently, it seems. Benedict’s essay became public on Wednesday night, but on Thursday morning there was no mention of the extraordinary statement in the Vatican’s news outlets. (Later in the day the Vatican News service issued a report summarizing Benedict’s essay; it appeared “below the fold” on the Vatican News web page, below a headline story on relief efforts for cyclone victims in Mozambique.) For that matter it is noteworthy that the former Pope’s statement was not published by a Vatican outlet in the first place; it first appeared in the German Klerusblatt and the Italian secular newspaper Corriere della Sera, along with English translations by the Catholic News Agency and National Catholic Register.

    Benedict reports that he consulted with Pope Francis before publishing the essay. He does not say that the current Pope encouraged his writing, and it is difficult to imagine that Pope Francis was enthusiastic about his predecessor’s work on this issue. The two Popes, past and present, are miles apart in their analysis of the sex-abuse scandal. Nowhere does Benedict mention the “clericalism” that Pope Francis has cited as the root cause of the problem, and rarely has Pope Francis mentioned the moral breakdown that Benedict blames for the scandal

    https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=1338

  10. Wait a second! You’re saying that Archbishop Ratzinger directly challenging his successor would be damaging to the Church then you say the letter’s substance is just that, albeit subtle.

    Yep, hard cases make bad law, and Pope Francis is a very hard case for the Church indeed. The Pope Emeritus is attempting to thread a very small needle.

  11. “One can give pro forma obeisance without effusive praise.
    Wait a second! You’re saying that Archbishop Ratzinger directly challenging his successor would be damaging to the Church then you say the letter’s substance is just that, albeit subtle.”

    Maybe effusive praise to one but to another it is showing diplomatic respect for the Seat of Peter and its present occupant even if one disagrees. A seat once occupied by Benedict XVI and relinquished by same and at the same time knowing the cross of carrying that position. . He should be allowed to respect and not condemn the Vicar as he sees fit without being condemned himself.

    There are opinions high and low as to why the Church finds itself in crisis in which it is wallowing. From Cardinals to the laity there is no shortage of opinions and advice as to the Pope and how to ‘fix’ things. But this certain Archbishop is not allowed to give his say? He is no longer the Pope but he still is a Catholic Archbishop and he has every right to give his opinion and I dare say he is probably more qualified to give it than the whole lot of us here.

  12. “Phil Lawler nails it:”

    Nonsense! Actually, the only web-based Catholic media that “nails” it is Steve Skojec at One Peter Five.

    https://onepeterfive.com/pope-benedict-breaks-his-silence-to-say-not-very-much-at-all/

    Unlike Lawler, Skojec actually interacts with the content of the letter itself. He points out that the homosexual casuistry is given scant mention. In fact, it’s really only mentioned in passing. Also, the sex abuse problem is mostly NOT about pedophilia, but the abuse of post pubescent boys. That’s not pedophilia and Ratzinger knows it. Nor is there any mention of the abuse of adult seminarians by homosexual bishops. No mention of episcopal cover up and so on.

    The title of Skojec’s piece clocks it pretty well. The fawning of it by mainstream orthodox Catholics proves once again the pervasiveness of a groupie mentality. It is also indicative of a gross double standard. If Francis or a Francis approved bishop had written something like this, people like Lawler would be singing off the same sheet of music as Skojec.

  13. Skojec misses the nail by a mile Greg. He cherry picks the letter to support a conclusion he has already reached. Read as a whole the essay is a slam at the current powers that be at the Vatican, and they know it.

  14. I read the essay as a whole and it is, at best, the meanderings of 91 year old ex-pope. The quotations Skojec cites reveal much about the substance of the whole.

  15. B16 when arguing with someone he disagrees with is always polite and respectful even when cutting ther argument to shreds. Which is one reason people hated him. He cut there arguments to shreds without t one harsh word or giving them a point on which to counter attack. “I do not understand how he could say that” is the only personal attack I read him make.

    In Ratzingerian style that letter cuts Francis and his program to pieces. He knows that, but b16 did it without giving them a handle to counter attack.

    While Fire and brimstone may be more emotionally satisfying his approach will be much more effective.

    You could learn much about how to effectively make a point in a charitable manner by reading a few of his books, Besides enriching your faith.

Comments are closed.