The growing Catholic sex abuse scandals in Germany – Pope Benedict’s homeland – and the Netherlands are making headlines all over the world, just as the Vatican had started to emerge from the furor over abuse of children in Ireland, Australia, America and elsewhere. The German story has a personal link to the pontiff: some of the accusers had belonged to a choir led by Benedict’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, for 30 years.

So far, coverage has floated three theories for the ongoing allegations of pedophilia and physical abuse. As usual, some are questioning the Catholic Church’s celibacy mandate for clergy (except for Eastern Catholics and married converts). The Holy See’s own daily newspaper has a story about whether the dearth of women in church governance plays a role, positing that the “veil of masculine secrecy” contributes to cover-ups. And several exorcists are debating whether the Devil has infiltrated the Vatican.

As my former colleague Gary Stern notes over at Blogging Religiously, these are dark days for Pope Benedict – and some fear that it’s just the beginning.

*Click here to subscribe to Belief Beat and click here to follow Belief Beat on Twitter.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Thank you for visiting Belief Beat. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy:   Beliefnet News   Good News Happy Reading!  

Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um… isn’t that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can’t wait to see how the architect will handle this kind of project. Maybe the building can feature […]

Alaska Airlines, now the country’s seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It’s just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I’ve flown Alaska several times since moving to Seattle, but I confess that I’ve never noticed these Psalm quotations. They were only offered on […]

I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill — and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had enough votes.) It now appears that Washington’s lawmakers will legalize gay marriage next month, […]