Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Speaks on Priest Sex Abuse Scandals & Is Promoting Christian Unity in Great Britain

Before Pope XVI landed in Great Britain today he addressed reporters questions on the priest sex abuse scandals.  First, I must say that the priests who mistreated or sexual abused young boys and girls actions are unconscionable, criminal, and evil.  We must make sure that this type of evil is never allowed to occur again in the Church again.  I have previously posted my thoughts on the abuse issue and the attacks by the liberal media on Pope Benedict here and here on my first blog which is more of a political blog than a theological one.

Pope Benedict responded by stating that the Church was not vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem.

"These revelations were for me a shock, and a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible," he said.

The Pope also said it was inexplicable to him how a priest who has promised at his ordination to act in the person of Christ, as a good shepherd, could "fall into this perversion."
"It is a great sadness. It is a sadness, also, that the authority of the church was not vigilant enough, was not sufficiently fast and decisive in taking the necessary measures," he said.

Pope Benedict XVI said the Church is experiencing a period of penitence and humility and is making an effort to renew its "absolute sincerity."
From CNS: After a study by a British judge, Lord Nolan, in 2001 the bishops adopted a series of measures to protect children, including setting up a national office for child protection and encouraging the appointment of trained child protection officers in each parish and school. The bishops also made a commitment to turn every case of alleged child abuse over to the police.
The Pope said that the Church's 'first priority' is the recovery of sex abuse victims and then he laid out three things that are necessary for that to happen.
The first was to help victims overcome their traumas, and restore their trust in the message of Christ, he said.

The second aspect, he said, was to mete out justice to guilty priests and help make sure they are excluded from any contact with young people. At the same time, he said, "we know this is a sickness, and free will does not function," so in a sense the church is helping protect the perpetrators from themselves.

The third element, the pope added, was prevention, particularly in the choice of candidates for the priesthood, so that future cases of abuse can be avoided.

The Pope urged Great Britain to preserve their Christian tradition and warned against
"aggressive" forms of secularism and atheism.  The Pope's meesage seems quite appropos for America, also.

Pope Benedict stated that Christian witness was also evident during World War II against a "Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society," he said.

"As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society," he said.

'The pope outlined an argument for the place of religion in public affairs, emphasizing that British saints and other leading Christians have "shaped the nation for good at the deepest level." While Great Britain today strives to be a multicultural society, he said, it must respect the traditional values and cultural expressions "that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate." '

'He said the British media have a big responsibility in shaping the ideas and culture of its society and in promoting the "honesty, respect and fair-mindedness" for which the country is known.'  Pope Benedict is very charitable with his words since before his visit the British media flung around enough nasty insults and mudslinging to dirty at least 100 pigs thoroughly with mud in the trough.

Ian Martin, a Scottish Presbyterian from the WSJ, defends the Pope against the insults being made by ultraliberal forces. He points out that the BBC Radio 4 asked: Shouldn't the Pope be making his church more relevant? Shouldn’t he be reforming the Catholic church so that it fits in with the modern world?
Martin said "Agree or disagree with the pope, but I would have thought it obvious that that is precisely not what he should be doing. Rightly or wrongly, he thinks his institution has universal truths to offer and that it is the modern world that could learn from its teachings rather than the other way round."

Ian Martin posted part of a thought-provoking piece written by Michael Burleigh:

“Secularism is at the heart of Benedict’s concerns. By this the Pope does not mean the delimitation of Church and State, the sacred and profane – which is intrinsic to Christian culture as well as political society since the Reformation – but the amnesiac eradication of one of the principal roots of Western civilization and the deliberate marginalization of all religion to the private sphere. In its stead has come a society that thinks its existential despairs can be ameliorated by limitless consumer goods, or worse, by a state that racks up fathomless amounts of debt so as to throw money at problems that may have no material resolution.While truly sinister philosophies and technologies, all camouflaged with the rhetoric of choice and freedom, infiltrate how we regard and treat the old or sick, or play around with the building blocks of life itself, the public space is dominated by a culture several notches below that of the late Roman empire. At least their satirists were amusing and gladiators did not blub copiously when they triumphed in their violent version of “Rome’s Got Talent”.

The churches are pushed to the margins, licensed at most as a pick-up service for the most intractable social problems, or for when life finally brushes up against mortality. Their room to exercise their traditional right to accord praise or blame is being curtailed, day in, day out, by the tyranny vociferous minorities exert over majorities through laws preventing “discrimination”, which rarely favour Christians themselves.”

'Queen Elizabeth also underlined the importance of Britain's Christian heritage and told the pope that his visit also is a reminder of "the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world." '

'The queen said that because religion is so important to national identity, the relationship between different churches and different faiths is "a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual and respectful understanding." '

'The queen, who serves as governor general of the Anglican Church of England, told the pope, "We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established." '

' "I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many," she said.'

Let us continue to pray for the Pope's visit to Great Britain as he spreads the message of Christian unity to the people there.

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