The Dallas Morning News
Benedict links crisis, sexual revolution
Pope emeritus blames retreat of morals for church’s predicament
ROME — Breaking years of silence on major church affairs, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sex abuse in which he attributes the crisis to a breakdown of church and societal moral teaching and says he felt compelled to assist “in this difficult hour.”
The 6,000word letter, published Thursday by a Catholic outlet and the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, laments the secularization of the West, decries the 1960s sexual revolution, and describes seminaries that became filled during that period with “homosexual cliques.”
The pope emeritus, in emphasizing the retreat of religious belief and firm church teaching, provides a markedly different explanation for the abuse crisis than that offered by Pope Francis.
“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” Benedict wrote, according to the Catholic News Agency, which published the full text in English. “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”
Since abdicating the papacy six years ago, Benedict — living in a monastery inside the Vatican City walls — had remained nearly silent on issues facing the church, in part to yield full authority to his successor, Pope Francis. But Benedict’s decision to speak out shows the unprecedented and awkward position facing the ideologically divided Roman Catholic Church, which has — for the first time in six centuries — two potential authority figures who hold sometimesdiffering views.
Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, confirmed the authenticity of the letter in an email.