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Pope Ratzinger Blames Jesus for Catholic Sexual Abuse of Children

All over the world, large numbers of Catholic priests have been caught raping and sexually molesting children. All over the world, large numbers of leaders in the Roman Catholic Church covered up the problem, allowing the rampant sexual abuse to continue.

The Catholic Pope, the former Nazi Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, gave a speech today in which he spoke about his church’s problem with sexual crimes, saying, “How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery.”

fingers up the noseAt first, Pope Ratzinger’s explanation sounds absurd. How could he say that the use of children as sexual playthings by Catholic priests is a mystery? It’s very clear that the Catholic Church’s sexually controlling ideology, in addition to the outrageous power given to Catholic priests, is to blame. There’s no mystery about what went wrong. The Catholic Church is thoroughly corrupt.

But then, maybe Ratzinger understands that. Maybe that’s not what he was talking about. Maybe there’s some kind of theological discussion going on here that I just don’t understand. Maybe I’m taking the statement out of context.

Let’s look at the full text of what Pope Ratzinger said. In that text, the Pope refers to the concept of mystery several times. Here’s everything on the subject of mystery that Ratzinger said in his speech:

“The theme of the Congress – Communion with Christ and with One Another – leads us to reflect upon the Church as a mystery of fellowship with the Lord and with all the members of his body.”

“The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord.”

“We must learn to recognize anew the mysterious presence of the Risen Lord.”

Am I the only one seeing some major erotic themes in these words? Ratzinger speaks of “a personal encounter”, entering the “inner depth” of Jesus’s body, and fiddling around with its “members” which Ratzinger says are “risen”!

Unless I’m wrong, and I don’t think I am, Pope Ratzinger is saying that responsibility for the priest sex abuse scandal should go all the way to the top, to Jesus, who has apparently been having intimate relations huge numbers of people in the Catholic Church for some years now… and without being married, either.

18 comments to Pope Ratzinger Blames Jesus for Catholic Sexual Abuse of Children

  • You write: “Unless I’m wrong, and I don’t think I am, Pope Ratzinger is saying that responsibility for the priest sex abuse scandal should go all the way to the top, to Jesus, who has apparently been having intimate relations huge numbers of people in the Catholic Church for some years now… and without being married, either.”

    I believe that you are indeed wrong. B16 is speaking about the mystery of how it is that we can be both sacred and profane at the same time. He’s meditating upon how it is that men who had every spiritual advantage could commit such evil acts as abusing innocents for their own perverse ends. Far from blaming Jesus, he is asking how priests who shared in his ministry could participate in such criminal and horrendous acts of immorality while acting in his name.

    Using a secular example might help to illustrate my point. One of the MD’s in our town recently had to turn in his medical license after admitting to having a sexual relationship with one of his patients. The question that was asked over and over by the 1700+ patients who suddenly lost their doctor was: “How could somebody so smart do something so stupid?” The Pope is asking the same question, but instead of ‘stupid’, he’s asking how predator priests (and their enabling Bishops too) could be so evil as well as being so stupid as to think that they could get away with their crimes.

    Even though I think your query was asked rhetorically, I hope you don’t mind me offering an answer.

    Fr. Tim Moyle
    Mattawa, Ontario
    http://www.frtimmoyle.blogspot.com

  • Bill

    ‘Mystery’ is the religionist’s code-word for what everyone else means when they say ‘irrational’. It plays well because, hey, everybody loves a good mystery.

    • Bill: Not at all! We use the word ‘mystery’ in the same sense that science does: a search for a complete understanding of existence. Since we Christians accept the proposition of salvation through the cross as the lodestar from which we begin our exploration, we will not exhaust the search until at last we stand before Christ, claiming redemption through his sacrifice in atonement for our sins. Just as the ‘final’ final answer to complete and total comprehension of creation through the agencies of science has alluded humanity, the same continues to case for we who search for Christ. Both require the use of logic to discover through inference truths that are still beyond direct observations. Both are rational searches, worthy of pursuing even if we don’t end up with irrefutable proof of our convictions in this lifetime.

      Science and faith are not in conflicting camps. It is not an either/or proposition… it’s a question of respecting the metiers of each discipline. As has been said before, science studies how creation works; theology searches for why creation works as it does. Looking for the ‘fingerprint of the divine’ among the patterns discovered by science is another way to understand their relationship.

      I am not positing a ‘God of the gaps’ argument. That’s essentially an ‘all or nothing proposition’ claiming for God only an ever shrinking number of questions for science to explain. If some Physicist published a grand theory of everything that could explain the universe it would not preclude the existence of God.

      Fr. Tim

      • Fr., do you really believe that a search for a “risen” Jesus and a personal relationship with a man who’s two millenia dead is a rational pursuit?

        Also, do you deny the thoroughly sexual nature of the languge used by the Pope in his speech? Do you not accept the possibility that there’s a connection between that sexual religiosity and the unusually high prevalence of sexually predatory behavior among Catholic priests?

        I find it interesting that you’re going into abstract, rarified theology rather than dealing with the plain, rather earthly trouble.

      • Bill

        Father Moyle, as both a scientist and a Christian I can agree with you that science and religion do not necessarily stand in opposition, any more than do, say, socket wrenches and bubble gum. But also as a scientist I can assure you that the word “mystery” is not a ‘term of art’ in science, which recognizes only the known, the unknown, and (albeit grudgingly) the unknowable.

        • If you try to use bubble gum as a socket wrench, or a socket wrench as bubble gum, however, there’s going to be big trouble.

        • Bill: The search of each is analogous but not necessarily identical to other other. Mystery may not be part of the au courant lexicography of science, but it has been there from the beginning. I believe that you may be pointing to a difference that makes no difference. I take it as given that the drive which first fired a scientist’s heart is to solve some mystery or other that will advance our understanding of the world.

          You’ve got to admit: creation has proven to be a pretty inexhaustible nut to crack when it comes to understanding it at its essence. It’s being as illusive a prize to catch… possessing a kind of ‘holy grail’ quality that resembles our search for the divine fingerprint of the creator that we expect to find as well. Nature is indeed a mysterious subject… no matter how much we learn about how it works. If science could remove that sense of mystery from our existence, (which btw, I don’t believe it can or will) the world would be the lesser for it.

          Fr. Tim

      • “Since we Christians accept the proposition of salvation through the cross as the lodestar from which we begin our exploration, we will not exhaust the search until at last we stand before Christ, claiming redemption through his sacrifice in atonement for our sins.”

        If you begin with an acceptance of salvation through the cross, and then you conduct an “exhaustive search,” and then at last you stand before the cross seeking salvation, the only way you could “exhaust” yourself is by spinning in this “A, therefore A” logical pirhouette.

        Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice that you’re writing here. But the move you describe doesn’t have any “mystery.” It’s a classic problem in elementary logic called “begging the question”.

        • Jim: I don’t agree. I am familiar with the fallacy having studied Aristotelian logic as part of my philosophy studies and I do not believe that I am begging the question. The only way that I can see your point is if I were equating God with nature, which I most assuredly was not doing.

          Let me try to explain myself in another way. I believe that science is little more than the progressive, structured rolling back of the veil that obscures our understanding of the fundamentals of nature. What it reveals will either confirm or deny certain assumption that believers hold about how they think God would work. For example, I can’t understand people who decry evolution in the face of OVERWHELMING evidence that Darwin was correct.

          I live each day choosing to both believe and act in accordance with my faith – while keeping my mind open to other evidence at the same time. I do not see a contradiction between my faith and what I accept as being scientifically true.

          I take it you’re walking a different path?

          Fr. Tim

        • I appreciate your willingness to communicate.

          What my path is should be irrelevant to the integrity of your approach.

          I do think what you wrote before does take the A, therefore A approach. If you accept a premise as true before determining it to be true and use it as a guide to how you live your life, including the way you search for truth, it will not be surprising that you will conclude that premise is true after all.

          With what you subsequently write, I understand your claim differently: first, I think I now hear you say, comes faith (accepting a certain premise as a lodestar), and then comes searching for the premise’s justification, while being willing to ditch your faith should facts (which no longer would make that premise a lodestar, a fixed guide point from which other determinations are made). This different approach also seems internally inconsistent.

      • crow

        I’m sorry Tim, but I think you are making a false equivelency here. I grew up Catholic and the word “mystery” was the fall back answer for anything the clergy either did not want to answer or simply did not know. I heard the response “it’s a mystery” more than I could count. The flock has been trained to accept that as an answer since the Dark Ages. To question the “mystery” response was to be accused of not having “faith”. Push it any further than that and one ran the risk of being executed for heresy.

        On the other hand, I have never heard any scientist use the word “mystery” as an end explanation for anything. Scientists and other critical thinkers experiment and move forward to find actual answers to mysteries. Many things that we hold as common knowledge today were, for centuries, considered “mysteries”. Mystery and faith along with the pope claiming infallibilty kept the flock in line for hundreds of years. For example, the pope had declared that the sun revolves around the earth. He doesn’t know how because it is a mystery, but we should take it on faith. We can accept it on faith because the pope has declared it so and he, in his great and holy infallibility, cannot be wrong.

        We can all be thankful that Galileo dared to go beyond simply accepting the movement of celestial bodies as a mystery though he did pay a great price for it. And how many centuries before the Catholic Church could accept the scientific explanation for it? Even today some people still refuse scientific explanations – Bill O’Reilly still doesn’t understand how the moon affects the tides. To him it is still a mystery.

        Your pope seems mystified as to the understanding of the nature of pedophiles. Perhaps if he was more willing to open himself up to an actual explanation of the disorder rather than just dismissing things he does not understand as a “mystery”, his understanding of why it happens so much in his organization would expand.

        I live in Utah where Mormonism is the dominant religion. It is an oppresive religion which, much like the Catholic church, claims their prophet speaks for their God and is not questioned (though they hesitate to use the word “infallible” – it sounds so papal), and prefers to bury truth rather than deal with reality. Some of the results of this are that we have a higher than the national average of incest, domestic violence and teen suicide. The rate of women on antidepressants is 3 times the national average. The male heirarchy of the church cannot understand these statistics. To them it is a “mystery”.

  • Tim,

    You are neglecting to answer my questions to you about:
    - the remarkable sexual undertones in the theology of the Pope’s speech and its connection to the remarkably high level of sexual abuse by Catholic priests
    - whether you think it’s rational to think that you have a personal relationship with a person who is supposed to have died about two thousand years ago

    Am I to take it that you would simply rather talk abstractly about Aristotelian logic and the theoretical relationship between science and Christianity, or have you just not gotten around to a reply yet?

    • Uncle: No. I’m not neglecting to answer. I am striving not to neglect the important things I need to complete as a parish priest and have not gotten around to responding.

      1. I do not see it framed that way. The remarkable sexual undertone you refer to is something that you are bringing to the discussion. You are reading something into the text that is not there.

      2. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Therefore it is quite possible – even probable – that one could develop a personal relationship with him even today.

      Hope these responses suffice in providing the answers you asked of me.

      Fr. Tim

      • No, they really don’t suffice, Tim.

        In response 1: You’re only saying that I’m asking the question that I’m asking, as if that’s an answer, and then asserting, without any substantiation, that you think I’m wrong.

        In response 2: I asked you about reason, and you provide me with an assertion, without any evidence, that you believe that you can have a personal relationship with a person who died and then came back to life, two thousand years ago, and has survived until this day, though there is no evidence that this person ever actually existed.

        You assert that the resurrection of this dead human being is “probable”, but that’s a term of statistics, and you’re not providing any numbers to back up your conclusion that it is is likely that a human being has died, and then come back to life, and then lived for two millenia.

        Tim, you’ve claimed that your religious beliefs are based on reason. Your response is NOT what reason looks like.

        Do you give sermons like this, and do people actually buy what you’re saying?

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