Pope Blames the ’70s for Pedophile Priests, Says Wasn’t ‘Evil’
December 31, 2010
(ChattahBox World News)—Somehow with all that was going on politically in the waning days of the lame-duck Congress leading up to the Christmas holiday, I missed the story of the Pope finding yet another scapegoat for the decades-long cover up of the clerical sexual abuse of children. What is it this time? Apparently, the freewheeling and sexually liberating 1970s. During a Christmas address to bishops and cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI blamed the ’70s for creating the “ideological foundation” for pedophilia. In Pope Benedict’s view, the sexual abuse of children by priests in the ’70s was the norm. And he further reasoned that the 70s version of pedophilia was not “evil in itself.” I don’t know what kind of ’70s experience the Pope had, but in the real world the rape and sexual abuse of children by adults was never accepted as normal. And there is no greater evil than a religious institution claiming moral superiority, that for years covered up the rape of innocent children by male priests.
Pope Benedict made his remarks during his Dec. 20 address to the Roman Curia. He said that the Catholic Church must perform “penance” for the years of clerical sexual abuse, adding the Church must “make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.”
But from there, Pope Benedict strayed into a misguided and shameful rationalization for the clerical abuse cover-up. He seemed to attribute the behavior of pedophile priests to what he says is acceptance of child pornography in today’s society.
“We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society.”
Victims of clerical abuse reacted with outrage to the Pope’s remarks, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph.
“But outraged Dublin victim Andrew Madden last night insisted that child abuse was not considered normal in the company he kept.”
“Mr Madden accused the Pope of not knowing that child pornography was the viewing of images of children being sexually abused, and should be named as such.”
“He said: “That is not normal. I don’t know what company the Pope has been keeping for the past 50 years.”’
The Pope and his spokesmen have previously blamed the clerical abuse scandal on “the secularization of modern society,” “petty gossip,” the “Devil” inside the Vatican and even compared criticism of the Church for covering up the sexual abuse to the “most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
Now, Pope Benedict is blaming the ’70s for the Vatican’s cover-up of pedophile priests raping and abusing children for years.
“In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself.”
“There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.”
Barbara Blaine, President and Founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released a statement calling the Pope’s remarks “fundamentally disturbing.”
“While some church officials have blamed the 1960s for the church’s sex abuse and cover up catastrophe, the Pope is now blaming the 1970s,” said Blaine.
Blaine added, “Catholics should be embarrassed to see their Pope talk again and again about abuse while doing little or nothing to stop it and to mischaracterize this heinous crisis.”
“It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal. It’s unseemly to see a powerful religious figure childishly blaming nameless forces and time periods for a church-created crisis,” Blaine said.
Instead of the ’70s, or the devil or the “petty gossip” of the media, Blaine identifies the true “ideological foundations” of the clerical abuse crisis— “the long-standing and unhealthy culture of a rigid, secretive, all-male church hierarchy fixated on self-preservation at all costs.”
The full text of Pope Benedict’s Christmas address can be found here.
Photo Source: Wikimedia/Torvindus Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution.
H/T Crooks and Liars