The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“These revelations were a shock to me, a great sadness”

posted by jmcgee

Pope Benedict arrived in the United Kingdom — but not before making some news on the plane trip over (something that has almost become his custom):

As Pope Benedict XVI arrived here Thursday for the first state visit to Britain by a pope, he offered his strongest criticism yet of the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sex abuse crisis, saying it had not been “sufficiently vigilant” or “sufficiently swift and decisive” in cracking down on abusers.

Speaking to reporters on his flight from Rome, Benedict also said that the church’s “first interest is the victims.”

“I must say that these revelations were a shock for me, a great sadness,” he said of the crisis that has undermined the church’s moral authority in many parts of Europe and beyond.

He expressed “sadness also that the authority of the church was not was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently swift and decisive to take the necessary measures.”

His remarks showed that the Vatican had perhaps begun to learn from its mistakes after months of stumbling in its response to the crisis.

Asked how the church could restore the faith of those shaken by the revelations of widespread priestly abuse, the pope said: “The first interest is the victims” and the church needed to determine “how can we repair, what can we do to help them to overcome the trauma, to re-find their lives.”

He was responding in Italian to reporters’ questions submitted in advance and relayed to him by Vatican officials. His words may have been designed to pre-empt a potentially hostile reception in Britain provoked by the church’s response to the abuse scandal.

Read on.

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posted September 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

” not sufficiently vigilant ” who is the top authority in the rcc ? i believe it’s the pope !! maybe he is too busy counting the $$ from the indulgences.

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posted September 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Jim maybe you could try out for Comedy Club you are so funny.

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Mike L

posted September 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

RomCath, I also wonder just how naive Pope Benedict really was. He certainly was in a position to have some knowledge of what was going on and apparently made several naive statements about the sexual abuse problem being an American problem, etc.
Then, he says that the Church needs to work with the victims, and this kind of implies that there will be no repercussions for bishops that abused or allowed abuse.
You can be as cynical as you want, but I remain skeptical and expect business as usual.

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posted September 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Ask who wrote the rules for handling these sex abuse cases………..hmmm, could it it be the current leader of the church

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posted September 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm

You should see what fellow “Christians” are writing and saying. the same people who trumpet how much ‘holier’ and more “Christian’ they are and who heap abuse on the Pope remind me of the people who –even if they recognized the injustice, remained ‘silent’ and ‘complicit’ when another Man walked forward to be pilloried by ‘public opinion’, judged a wicked sinner, even put to death for crimes He did not commit. . .

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posted September 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

To think that the Pope has personal knowledge of every individual priest predator or how any individual Bishop handleed the abuse situation is ludicrous. Does anyone know how many priests there are in the world and how many alledged cases there were?
Does the Chairman of GM know every time a worker screws up on the assembly line? Give me a break.

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Henry Jones

posted September 17, 2010 at 11:32 am

All I want to hear for once is the pope or a bishop take some responsibility for allowing the abuse to happen. I am tired of being blamed as a priest. Yes, the priest committed the abuse but the bishops are the ones who allowed it to continue to happen. From my perspective, the church (poepe and bishops) are trying to hold onto their power for as long as they can. They would rather hold onto their power than tackle difficult issues in the church. It seems like they would rather deny the Eucharist to people than look at finding solutions to the vocation crisses. To say we can not talk about woman’s ordination or married clergy is just plain crazy. The church had married clergy in the past and will have it in the future. Just maybe if some women had been allowed to become priests we wouldn’t have this sexual abuse problem in our church today. I am tired of being blamed by the pope and bishops for the sexual abuse problem. Let them come forward and take some responsibility for a change. Until that time, things aren’t going to change in the church. Just look at the changes happening in the church today. All of them are power grabs by the church to hold onto it’s power. The church today is all about control. If it continues down this past, there will be fewer and fewer catholics going to church.

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Mike L

posted September 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm

RomCath, give us a break and stop setting up false situations. No one expects Benedict to now every violation, just as no one expects the CEO of GM to know every screw-up on the production line. However I expect the pope to have some idea of serious problems in the Church, just as I expect the Chairman of GM to have some idea of the quality of the car his company is producing. Perhaps the removal of a few known problems might have prevented more.
If you want to remove responsibility from the pope by claiming he was naive, go ahead. Cardinal Law blamed the whole problem on the news media, you can still do that, although I think that in the long run it was foolish.

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posted September 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

“However I expect the pope to have some idea of serious problems in the Church”
I think he did and does. How many times does he have to say that not enough was done? I think he said it again on the way to the UK for the 1000th time. It happened, not enough was done, it is being done now, what else do you want–maybe some bishops tarred and feathered perhaps?

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posted September 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm

“He expressed “sadness also that the authority of the church was not was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently swift and decisive to take the necessary measures.”
Henry Jones did you read what the Pope said on the way to UK?

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posted September 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Former President Truman said “the buck stops here”. IOW, things that happened (in government) while he was president were ultimately his responsibility. Perhaps the Pope could admit some sort of responsibility for the abuses, as the leader of the church. To my knowledge, he has not accepted any. I think that might be what some of the victims would like to hear.

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Mike L

posted September 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm

RomCath, what is being done? I agree, he has said a 1000 times that not enough was done, but that is just words. He also talks of justice yet bishops who have confessed to abuse are still drawing their pensions while the ordinary priest get canned. It is foolish to claim some want bishops tared and feathered, but why, when they have more and therefore more is expected of them, are they left off the hook?
What do you think should be done?

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posted September 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

There are stricter guidelines in place than there ever were. Did you read the recent ones from the Vatican? Bishops in Ireland have resigned as well as other places. Should they all be in jail? Perhaps some should be. Is that going to ease anyone’s pain? That’s also up to civil authorities to pursue.
The vast majority of cases occurred long before BVI was Pope. Many of the Bishops and priets are dead.
What do you want done?

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posted September 17, 2010 at 8:48 pm

RomCath, I don’t think there is anything you can say to change minds or hearts. The truama to children, families and the Church itself will only change with prayer, penance and conversion of life (our own lives and the life of the Church).

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Mike L

posted September 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm

RomCath, Yes, there are stricter guidelines in place, but note that they are only for priests, not for bishops. And even then it appears that some bishops see them only as guidelines and feel free to ignore them. My own opinion is that all should be treated alike. If abusive priests are removed from the priesthood, so should bishops. If priests lose their retirement, so should bishops. If bishops should be allowed to simply retire and maintain their retirement benefits, so should priests.
Should they be in jail, perhaps. Would it ease someones pain, perhaps. Would you argue that a rapist (which abuse is) should not be jailed because it would not relieve someones pain. I don’t think you really would.
Yes, most of the cases occurred before BVI’s watch, and I greatly respect him for finally acting on Marcial’s behavior. And I have to agree that he is right in that, in his words. “the authority of the church was not was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently swift and decisive to take the necessary measures”. But he is part of the group that downplayed the problem.
What do I want done? First, do not issue guidelines, issue rules and insist that they be followed. Start treating the victims as victims and not enemies of the Church. Be honest and open, if diocese’s records show a priest was abusive, make it public and drop the lawsuits to keep them secret. Work out a fair recompense that is offered to the victims rather then spend millions fighting them in court. Maybe these aren’t all practical, and I am sure others could come up with better ideas. But Cardinal Law’s invoking the wrath of God on the Boston Globe was not a good move, nor was giving him a prestigious position in Rome afterward.
I do want to say that I think victims wanting to avenge their abuse is not a healthy thing. And you are right, in most cases jailing an abuser will not ease the pain of the abused, although it might give satisfaction. However, there is a requirement for justice to maintain the general good. I can’t give the page, but I have noted that principle expressed in the RCC. I tend to believe that.
Mike L
PS need a new captcha and got JUSTICE! Funny world

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