Pope Benedict Blames Society Not The Church For Child Sex Scandal

It is a modern-era phenomenon to shirk responsibility for one’s actions that at one time was the domain of criminals and spoiled little children. In the past, the clergy preached that unless one accepted responsibility for their actions and repented, they were still sinning. So, in keeping with the tendency of today’s mindset of deflecting blame, the Pope stated that the church’s child sex-abuse scandal was a product of secular society where child abuse is commonplace.

Pope Benedict made his pronouncement at his traditional year-end address to cardinals and bishops of the Vatican, and said that the exposure of abuse in 2010 had reached “an unimaginable dimension” forcing the church to accept the humiliation as a call for renewal. Ratzinger wondered how the church had allowed the abuse to happen and claimed that it was a “terrifying sign of the times.” But it is not just a sign of the times. The Pope ignores the fact that child sex-abuse by priests has gone on for decades while the church turned a blind eye, and was in collusion by reassigning offenders to different parishes so they could continue their perverse sexual abuse.

The most telling statement of the Pope’s detachment with the real world is his insinuation that as recent as the 1970s,  child sex-abuse didn’t qualify as an evil, but a behavior that people refused to judge because of tolerance and relativism. The Pope said, “In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” and that “It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself.” The notion that raping a helpless, innocent child is not evil and in conformity with man demonstrates that the Pope still doesn’t comprehend real world sensibilities of evil.

There is a sickness in the church when the Pontiff conveniently misdiagnoses the depravity of its priests and bishops by blaming society instead of the miscreants that its followers entrusted their children to. To blame society for the Catholic church’s culture of secrecy and self-preservation is no different than a criminal blaming a victim, and the failure of church leaders to discipline the offenders shows a tacit approval of pedophilia because as the Pope said, it was something “fully in conformity with man and even with children.”

Pope Benedict is a liar and complicit in the crimes of the church. If as Benedict claims, pedophilia was in conformity of man, why in 1988 did then-Cardinal Ratzinger look for ways to remove priests who were guilty of rape and molestation of children? The Vatican has changed its rules now to make it easier to defrock priests guilty of pedophilia because in the past the rules made it difficult to oust priests against their will. Although changing the rules is a start, the fact that bishops do not (as a matter of course) report pedophiles to law enforcement demonstrates the church’s willingness to cover up such vicious crimes against children. It is universally accepted that knowingly covering up criminal activity is a crime, and in many countries considered tantamount to direct involvement in the crime.

If the church truly believed child sex-abuse was a crime, they would have changed church doctrine to reflect their abhorrence of the priest’s crimes and not cover up the activity by reassigning offenders to a different region, but they have not. The Pope’s reluctance to take positive actions against criminals in the priesthood in the guise of following archaic church rules shows there still is no acceptance of responsibility for wrongdoing, and blaming secular society reinforces the belief that the church’s self-preservation outweighs concern for the victims.

The Pope said that pedophilia by priests should be viewed in a broad social context in which child pornography is considered normal by society. Child pornography and sex-abuse may be considered normal in Catholic society, but in the real world it is considered a crime. Instead of taking bold steps toward transparency and exposing the offenders by reporting their crimes to law enforcement, he blames secular society and claims pedophilia conforms to accepted societal norms.

There is nothing in secular society that indicates pedophilia is acceptable or normal, and in most countries is against the law. The Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the practice of child rape and molestation by its priests and the practice continues unabated. It is only when the victims have come forward that the church acknowledged any malfeasance, and only when the courts ordered compensatory damages that they took actions to remove the priests found guilty. There are still no provisions in church doctrine mandating bishops to report sex-abuse crimes to law enforcement officials, and no transparency in releasing information and documentation about known pedophiles in the priesthood. In stark contrast to transparency and accountability, the practice of relocating pedophile priests to different parishes continues unabated.

It is time for the Catholic Church and the Pope in particular to cease the practice of covering up the sins of its priests and accept responsibility for their crimes against children and humanity. The idea that church officials are above the law because they do god’s work is not acceptable under any circumstance, and the same rules that apply to a school teacher who molests a child should apply to a priest. There is nothing within society’s norms that excuse child sex-abuse in spite of the Pope’s statements otherwise.

The priests and their accomplices in the church hierarchy must be held accountable and their criminal behavior must be punished to the full extent of the law. According to the bible, repentance means confessing and turning away from sin; there is no provision for blaming society. Obviously, the Pope is just a criminal who blames someone else for their crimes, and will not take steps to stop sinning meaning they are non-repentant. They should rot in hell for making their victims’ lives hell on Earth.

40 Replies to “Pope Benedict Blames Society Not The Church For Child Sex Scandal”

  1. Any large bureaucracy has as its first rule survival: That nothing and no one can be allowed to damage or destroy the organization. Faced with any threat t0 its existence, the organization will do whatever it takes to make the threat go away. Ethics, morality, the laws of society, common human decency — none of these matter if they conflict with the survival imperative.

    I was peripherally involved in the lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Boston that were a major factor in bringing to light the monstrous evil of priestly sexual abuse, and I can tell you that the Church fought back like a cornered rat against admitting any iota of wrongdoing. The nature and ferocity of their legal defense was, to me, as nauseating as the actions it was designed to paper over.

    Sadly, this latest proof of ass-covering comes as no surprise; the sclerotic hierarchy running the Church simply cannot accept any guilt for what has been done, often with their knowing acquiescence if not outright connivance. The Church must go on, and to Hell with anyone or anything that threatens that.

  2. I would like to echo janicket’s well spoken post.

    There are churches with very good people in them who do very good things for others. Including the Catholic church. But I am afraid the Catholic church and probably others as well have totally failed when it comes to child abuse

    I tried to google churches that speak out against Child abuse as I wrote this and found very very little to go on. Now I am sure not an expert in this field but as a general layman do NOT see other churches speaking out on this. Is it mentioned in church on sundays or is it a taboo subject? It is my Opinion that child abuse in this world is far more rampant than anyone knows and i think it has been for thousands of years. But under no circumstances has it ever reached the position of social approval.

    If the pope wants to think he is Don Gotti and made of silicone thats fine with me. But the world doesnt have to go along with it. The world court should have these people up on charges. Or at the very least these people need to be prosecuted to the extreme extent possible. I will pull a rev Wright. Damm the catholic church. And for those who say letting priests marry wont help? Screw you.

  3. Well done, Rmuse. Blame society. No sense of personal or corporate responsibility at all, which is about what I’d expect from this reactionary old fossil. The pope pretends to be a scholar; clearly he chooses to be unaware of the long history of ill-behavior by Catholic priests going back a couple of thousand years. Society was to blame for all that, even when the Catholic church dominated society…But then, they want us to believe the Inquisition wasn’t really all that bad either.

  4. The pope’s statements don’t have anything to do with the price of beans and augment grounds for suspicion that the entire Vatican power hierarchy is run by pedophiles who found a quasi-impenetrable cover for acting out and then got caught.

  5. There’s a special place in Hell for this Pope. It’s right next to his childhood hero, Hitler.

  6. Just as janicket pointed out so eloquently, large systems (whether they be government, corporations, hero worship, religion, communities, a business, etc) close ranks when threatened and this is why child abuse, rape, and other crimes go unreported and are “tolerated”. When outed for these things, the system fights back with all of the bullying power of everyone who has a stake in the system. All of that weight against one child, or two children, or one woman or a man — and they use anything they can get their hands on to discredit, shut up, cover up, etc the big lie. While we as a society now accept that this happens in the Catholic Church, that does nothing for the children who suffered this abuse and who may have tried to tell someone only to be shut down, smeared, told it was their fault, or any other coping tactic the system thought would work.

    While I do hope that victims of child sexual abuse are not solely defined by experiences done TO them, I am also aware that this can negatively impact someone’s life forever. Statistics show that victims of child sexual abuse and victims of any sexual assault can suffer from any number of lingering problems: PTSSD, suicide, drug abuse, etc.

    For any system to keep denying such crimes against humanity is a human rights violation. For it to come from a supposed spiritual organization with world-wide reach is even worse. The way the Catholic Church has handled this shows that they are not a system of spirituality or faith, but rather a system of money and power and they deserve to be treated as such. The Catholic Corporation: Selling myths at the expense of children everywhere.

  7. Maybe Jason could treat us to a comparison between Ratzinger’s reassigning blame to secular society for the epidemic of priests molesting trusting children in the context of their unquestioned godly authority to Haley Barbour’s revisionist histrionics that attempted to transform Citizen Councils as a force for integration and hopefully lay both at the feet of the far left.

  8. You have to feel for all of them, but I cannot help but think of the ones in Europe, places like Ireland through out the ages where small communities were dominant, and the kids had no wheres to go. You never bucked your priest and you didnt tell. You lived with it. I think a time will come when South American literally explodes from the villages

  9. Sexual and other abuse in the Catholic Church goes back a lot farther than the 1970s. And I was around in the 70s and child sex abuse wasn’t accepted then either. It was mostly ignored unless it was implied that an LGBTQ or other minority might be engaging in it.

    I don’t remember much fuss over the Magdalene laundries either, but that was just systemic abuse of girls, so no big I guess.

  10. Africa too. The Catholic Church and other churches are all over that place, and a lot of those church-based children’s charities take kids away from their parents and keep them in orphanages where who knows what’s going on.

  11. First, Jason wasn’t the author of this article. Second, what does Haley “Boss Hogg” Barbour have to do with the far left? You do realize what the South, well the Confederacy, was all about, right?

  12. I’d love to read an article about the Pope and the scandals that actually accurately represents the facts and the Pope’s position, but yet again, I have found this is just another slanderous article that misleads the reader –

    “The Pope said, “In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” and that “It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself.” The notion that raping a helpless, innocent child is not evil and in conformity with man demonstrates that the Pope still doesn’t comprehend real world sensibilities of evil.”

    Your quotes are taken out of context and misrepresent what the Pope actually meant. If you’ve done your homework, you’d find the Pope has affirmed numerous times the evil of sexual abuse and pedophilia. He’s not saying in any way shape or form that pedophilia is not evil, simply that certain unorthodox Catholic theologians have taken this position (which differ from his own). Before broadcasting this “news” to the world, do yourself and everyone else a favor by reading what the Pope has actually said rather than taking a quote or two out of context to purport your own bias opinions.

  13. No I dont think it is society. I believe it is more socially acceptable to come out and speak against someone who abused you in the church. It is the times. I mean I think it is not way off thinking that this behavior is anything new.

  14. I don’t agree with the Pope’s arguments, but that doesn’t mean his argument is nonsensical, or that I can necessarily prove him wrong (although I think a legal scholar could).

    He’s right that societal morals DO change. What seems obviously bad today did not necessarily ALWAYS seem bad. And even if it DID seem bad, perhaps sometimes occurrences were so widespread that they were tolerated.

    Consider bullying. Bullying is pretty devastating to children, and for at least my lifetime (I’m 38), we’ve always known it was bad. But for a long time, perhaps we didn’t know quite how bad it really was, and because it was so widespread, most people probably concluded it was a fact of life. Some people even painted it as a neutral more than a negative, arguing that it toughened kids up.

    Also, society back then tolerated images of a lot more violence, racism, and general unhealthiness in the 1970s than it does now. Go watch wildly xenophobic and violent Popeye cartoons, with him strangling Japanese characters. Or Pinocchio, where everybody smokes (including Pinocchio himself). Or Tom & Jerry, where Tom chases Jerry around with a meat cleaver, and where a widly-racist (by today’s standards) black maid (of whom you only ever see her stockings and apron) chases them both around.

    So we can’t say that what is obvious today was necessarily obvious back then. That being said, it’s probably pretty easy for someone to assess how widespread sexual abuse was back then OUTSIDE of the church. If it was equally as widespread outside of the church than it was inside the church, then that was just society back then. We know better now and should move on. But if, in general, sexual abuse was NOT tolerated back then (as I’d wager it wasn’t), then the church must be held liable.

  15. Historically speaking, church officials, priests, even popes, have misbehaved – and badly, displaying a lamentable lack of morals, and at a time when all society was controlled and guided by the church, influenced by the -nth degree by holy writ. The Pope’s argument carries no weight at all. It relies on the old (and demonstrably false) belief that Christianity = morality and that lack of Christianity = immorality. Studies show the opposite, that as societies become more secular they become more law-abiding. The problem, rather, seems endemic to the church and must be laid at the church’s door. The pope should accept personal and corporate responsibility for what has happened, rather than (as he has attempted to do in the past) brush it under a rug, and when that fails, blaming society.

    Epic fail for a man who pretends to be a scholar.

  16. I’m pretty sure the quote about pedophilia theories in the 1970s was to demonstrate just how messed up our society is, not to excuse pedophilia. I looked all over and can’t find this address, mind linking to it? -100% for not citing sources.

  17. Is law-abiding the same as moral? Personal responsibility for things other people do? No, you just want to shame your opponents.

  18. they need to accept the blame, im catholic i disagree with the pope it is an internal problem and one that should be handled immediately

  19. This is nothing new. This has been going on in the church since its inception by the Roman Emperor for well on two thousand years. The church isn’t accepting responsibility because if they did, they would have to disclose that this has been going on with the Roman Catholic Church, as a matter of course, since day ONE.

    So, could we please start seeing the Catholic Church for what it really is, and was since day one… a tool to subjugate the people into thinking if they didn’t act and prostrate like the emperor wanted via HIS appointed representative (not God’s… most people conveniently forget that the church was made by a Roman emperor who appointed the first pope to spread HIS latched onto religion) that there would be literal hell to pay?

    Can we acknowledge that the church was responsible for the near total destruction of the Cybelline Sisterhood (they destroyed the Sisters and took their temple (the rmains of which is now on vatican grounds) and just admit that the Church has been THE BIGGEST scam and atrocity ever perpetrated on mankind.. worse than anything Hitler ever did (and if you think I’m kidding, there’s the Inquisition, All of the Crusades, The Salem Witch Trials to take into account to just name a few of the large scale atrocities.)?

    Can we finally admit that the Roman Empire didn’t end 2000 years plus back because its last most powerful vestige remains in the ROMAN Catholic Church, and that that last remaining bit of empire is now run by a former Hitler Youth (openly) who, despite his protestations, seems to have views that align with the Fuhrer and thousands of years of untouchability and shadow?

    The solution seems simple.. The UN needs to take action and dismantle the church…

    Worst cult in history EVAR.

    (*I should note in fairness, there are GOOD people who are Catholics, but the organization in all its totality isn’t what the average Catholic thinks it is.)

  20. OK, so we’ll judge him and the church he leads by their actions to date. I suggest we burn them at the stake just for the irony of it.

  21. the pope is the speaker for all things Catholic. This is no different than you working for a man and doing something wrong, and the man above you has to take the blame for your actions. He takes responsibility for you. The pope as head of the Catholic Church has to take responsibility or at least acknowledge responsibility for the actions of the priest under him. He is responsible for the review and the punishment if required of all under him regardless of who performs it

  22. I don’t think the child abuse could ever be just an internal problem. While I believe the Pope is responsible for those under him, I think the most important thing is that these people face the law through the legal system. The Catholic Church has no legal basis to be judge and jury for these priests.

  23. I have always felt that this problem of pedophile priests is rooted in the Church’s fundamental dishonesty about human sexuality. This is the same church that preaches against women priests and is against the kind of comprehensive sex education that would radically reduce the abortions they find so abhorrent. That includes their unfathomable opposition to condoms that offer some protection against STD’s or birth control that would cut down on pregnancies of women whose families have limited financial resources.

    I would much rather receive counseling on marriage, or sexual matters, on priests that are happily married and therefore in a position to offer sound advice on these subjects. They want their priests to be celibate, without seeing the disconnect between being detached from real life issues and offering advice on the above subjects. This demand for celibacy has also attracted folks with serious sexual hangups, and the church has served as an enabler of the kind of behavior that has been going on for years but has only recently come to light. While I know there are a lot of devout Catholics who take their religion seriously, I can’t help thinking that the church’s archaic attitudes on human sexuality are responsible for a lot of their problems.

  24. This is a trash hit piece by a pro-homosexual and pro-abortion writer that “uses” information wildly of context, but what is more frightening are the many who believe what they read with no investigation into the bias of the writer or the accuracy of the information.

    For example, a commonly known accusation that the church refused to prosecute an alleged child molester and dismissed the case. That’s all you hear in the liberal press. But it never mentioned that the priest in question DIED during the hearing and so the case was dismissed as one cannot prosecute a dead man ! That’s just ONE example.

    A recent study by a Jewish group found that the percentage of sexual and child abuse was lower in the Catholic church than in the general population, other Christian-protestant and Jewish religions.

    Bottom line is that the Catholic Church is targeted due to its anti-homosexual and anti abortion stance. How sad the public as represented in these posts are so superficial and ignorant so as to not only believe these things but to publicly then, pronounce their ignorance and superficiality.

    Joe Carrington, Harvard University

  25. Anne, I believe you are missing some knowledge. Celibacy was introduced to combat nepotism by priests and passing on of Church property to progeny which was apparently rife in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is therefore a recent innovation not something which set the church apart from its earl;y beginnings.

    It was around that time that the church stopped marrying homosexual couples in a ceremony called Brotherhood.

  26. The Catholic Church is massive dude. So when an employees of a fortune 500 company commit crimes, the CEO takes responsibility for it? He’s not responsible for the criminal punishment, or lack thereof. Being defrocked is not even close to an adequate punishment for a child molester.

  27. This is a trash hit piece by a pro-homosexual and pro-abortion writer that “uses” information wildly of context, but what is more frightening are the many who believe what they read with no investigation into the bias of the writer or the accuracy of the information.

    For example, a commonly known accusation that the church refused to prosecute an alleged child molester and dismissed the case. That’s all you hear in the liberal press. But it never mentioned that the priest in question DIED during the hearing and so the case was dismissed as one cannot prosecute a dead man ! That’s just ONE example.

    A recent study by a Jewish group found that the percentage of sexual and child abuse was lower in the Catholic church than in the general population, other Christian-protestant and Jewish religions.

    Bottom line is that the Catholic Church is targeted due to its anti-homosexual and anti abortion stance. How sad the public as represented in these posts are so superficial and ignorant so as to not only believe these things but to publicly then, pronounce their ignorance and superficiality.

    Further, it is clear that many attack the church in these posts because they think that by doing so, they will be some how less responsible for their own sins, as if God’s judgment will be influenced by public opinion.

    How many who write these posts are in positions of authority, yet have their own dirty little secrets? “As you judge, so shall ye be judged”, “Do mot judge least you be judged” and “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. What a bunch of sanctimonious, pretentious hypocrites!

    Joe Carrington, Harvard University

  28. Yeah, because marriage definitely cures sociopaths. I propose marriage as an alternative to the current criminal justice system.

  29. Right on Joe, 
         Nothing is more frustrating than reading ignorant responses made by people who fail to research the credibility of their source or reseach other sources to compare truths. Reading this article is like taking fox news or Jerry springer seriously.

        As for Harfnkell…secularism leads to a society bent on self gratification. When we are too focused on self gratification where is their room for family, friends and society. Secularism is the reason why there is a greater number retiries than youth to support them. They were too greedy (secular) to be bothered to raise children and will be the reason why in the not too distant future our society will collapse.

    Lastly, focusing on the Catholic church is quite frankly an easy target. It is a large organization and has many rules that leave most people feeling a bit uncomfortable with themselves. Many are convinced that it is a condemning organization…again more research needed. The rules this church has established are in your interests in mind…you don’t want to follow the rules then so be it. Pre marital sex = single parent / choose abortion, promiscuous sex ( gay or straight ) = disease etc. Just remember though that just because you didn’t play by the rules that God is punishing you…it was your choice! 
    It also pretty easy to pick on an organization that is focused on humility and compassion because if this article was about some eastern religion you’d be dead. Just sayin :)

  30. “Bottom line is that the Catholic Church is targeted due to its anti-homosexual and anti abortion stance.”

    What a silly conclusion, a conclusion for which you provide no direct evidence. Tell the victims in West Roxbury, Quincy, Woburn and Belmont. Pedophile priests were never held to account for their criminal behavior even when it came to light with church leaders. They were moved on and they did it again. Then the bishop was moved on, despite his failure to act morally.

    As far as being anti-homosexual, the Pope created new policy in the US as a response to the pedophile priest problem. get this, do not allow gay men to become priests. That’s just pure ignorance.

    My friend was in the Jesuit novitiate in Boston two decades and half of his class were gay men. The church has not always been anti-gay.

    Anti-abortion has very little to do with pedophile priests. Harvard defiantly needs to improve the intellectual standards it maintains.

  31. (I’m a different anne)

    It’s not like married men can’t and don’t rape children or anybody else either.

  32. Ryan,

    Please, please, please explain how compassion figures into shuffling pedophile priests around to other unsuspecting parishes and advising victims to keep quiet? I notice that you and Joe COMPLETELY IGNORE this major part of the problem.

    It’s one thing that pedophiles and rapists make it into postions of power without anyone suspecting until it’s too late. That’s tragic and I can understand that it’s a universal problem for which the rapist is to blame. But to KNOW that there’s a problem and to COVER IT UP? It’s not just the rapist now, it’s all those who are part of the cover up (the higher-ups of the Catholic Church). What’s your excuse for them?

    Yeah, I already know you’re not going to directly answer this. A few bad apples doesn’t excuse the food inspector who knowingly stuffs those bad apples back into another crate and sends them out for public consumption anyway.

  33. You still have not addressed the fact that many of their edicts are anti-woman. And whatever they did to address what you call “nepotism” still did not and does not address the problem of pedophilia, which includes both heterosexual and homosexual child abusers. As the other “anne” says, even married folks can be pedophiles and rapists. Another poster made a great point in saying that the cover-up of atrocious behavior was done to protect the institution itself.

    I still say that I cannot relate to the idea of taking advice on dealing with certain issues in everyday life from someone who has no connection to them at all. Nor can I relate to a church that says I could never be a priest simply because of an unalterable aspect of me that is one of the most important aspects of my personal identity–namely, being a woman. While I don’t care if someone chooses to remain celibate, the fact remains that this church has some serious issues about human sexuality that I find troubling.

  34. You know, I am on a you tube channel, and the sexual abuse came up. The hard core Catholics are fighting the matter tooth and nail. I am taken to task for showing up the church as being uneducated in the matter and all that. They are trying to deflect the blaim by saying, “well, its worse else where” and stuff like that.

    I have pointed out that I know that it goes on with other people, but not on an institutionalized basis. And defended tooth and nail, and will hide recorded from the Police.

    These people make me sick.

    Oh, and when I pint out how Pope JP2 was scum for allowing one of his buddies to keep up he abusive activity when his bishop recommended that he be defrocked. They seem to ignore that. But take offense that I call him scum. And these are the people that want to make him a canonized Saint!

    Sick.

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