Feb 11, 2013

Pope Is Driven from Office; Survivors' Group Responds

Update: Pope’s Resignation May Make International Prosecution Easier, Says Center for Constitutional Rights

Can anyone imagine an institution with less credibility to explain why Pope Benedict XVI has announced he is resigning?

Less than one week after the release of the film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, which implicated the Vatican and the Pope in the cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal and exposed the scandal to a widening audience, the Pope says he's resigning because of advancing age.

The Pope's statement includes no mention of the Church's sexual abuse scandals.

No apologies. Nothing.

The Times reports today:

When he took office, Pope Benedict’s well-known stands included the assertion that Catholicism is “true” and other religions are “deficient”; that the modern, secular world, especially in Europe, is spiritually weak; and that Catholicism is in competition with Islam. He had also strongly opposed homosexuality, the ordination of female priests and stem cell research. ...

Benedict’s tenure was caught up in growing sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church that crept ever closer to the Vatican itself.

In 2010, as outrage built over clerical abuses, some secular and liberal Catholic voices called for his resignation, their demands fueled by reports that laid part of the blame at his doorstep, citing his response both as a bishop long ago in Germany and as a cardinal heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles such cases.

In one disclosure, news emerged that in 1985, when Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he signed a letter putting off efforts to defrock a convicted child-molesting priest. He cited the priest’s relative youth but also the good of the church.

Vatican officials and experts who follow the papacy dismissed the idea of his stepping down at the time. “There is no objective motive to think in terms of resignation, absolutely no motive,” said Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. “It’s a completely unfounded idea.”

Reuters reports: "Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory."  

A strange observation. Since when is collaboration with NAZIs compulsory?  

Most of the press is going along for the ride in its uncritical reporting of what the Vatican says as though this were a credible source of information.  

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has also issued a statement.

The statement is published below in its entirety.   
The College of Cardinals will now look to its membership for a new leader, someone who can lead the Church into a new era. We hope that they look for a man among them who will protect the most vulnerable among the faithful: innocent children and reach out to the most hurt among the faithful: victims of clergy sexual abuse.

For the Church to truly embody the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ, it must be led by a pontiff who demands transparency, exposes child-molesting clerics, punishes wrongdoers and enablers, cooperates with law enforcement, and makes true amends to those who were hurt so greatly by Catholic priests, employees and volunteers.

The era of cover-up and secrecy in the Catholic Church must end. Our greatest hope is that the newest Pope agrees and becomes a true leader in the spirit and teaching of the Gospels..

Victims of child sexual abuse agree on one thing: they want to ensure that what happened to them never happens to another child. The only way for that to happen is for the Cardinals to select a Pontiff who puts child safety and victim healing first, as the teachings of Jesus Christ dictate.

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