How did it all go so wrong

Ratzinger is back, telling us the rapey priests problem is all the fault of liberalism.

“Why did paedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God,” Benedict wrote in the 6,000-word essay published on Thursday in the German monthly Klerusblatt, the Catholic News Agency and other conservative media.

No. What was absent was recognition that other people are not Things for one’s own sexual gratification. What was missing was the minimal decency to refrain from traumatizing children for personal pleasure.

Benedict also faulted church laws that gave undue protection to accused priests. During the 1980s and 1990s, he wrote, “the right to a defence [for priests] was so broad as to make a conviction nearly impossible”.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict spearheaded reforms of those laws in 2001 to make it easier to remove priests who abused children. Benedict took a hard line against clerical sex abuse as the Vatican’s conservative doctrinal chief and later as pope, defrocking hundreds of priests accused of raping and molesting children.

Francis has blamed the scandal on a clerical culture in the church that raises priests above the laity.

At his retirement in 2013, Benedict had said he would devote his remaining life to penance and prayer, leaving Francis to guide the church. He said in the introduction to the essay that Francis and the Vatican secretary of state had given him permission to publish. The Vatican confirmed it was written by Benedict.

Church historian Christopher Bellitto questioned if Benedict, who turns 92 next week, was being manipulated by others. He said the essay omitted the critical conclusions that arose from the pope’s February sexual abuse summit in Rome, including that “abusers were priests along the ideological spectrum, that the abuse predated the 1960s, that it is a global and not simply western problem, that homosexuality is not the issue in pedophilia”.

Emphasis mine. The abuse long predates the 60s, which suggests to me that it probably goes all the way back, because why wouldn’t it? We’re surely well familiar with the fact that some men feel perfectly entitled to use other people for their personal sexual jollies, with no compunction or concern about what those other people might prefer. We’re also well familiar with the fact that being a Catholic priest seems to do nothing to prevent that entitled feeling…and probably only encourages it because priests have such power over believers, as I gather Francis is arguing.

So, no. It ain’t the 60s and it ain’t the absence of god.

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