Pope Benedict XVI

Church must repent, repair damage caused by clerical abuse, pope says

Pope Benedict XVI sits in the Vatican's Clementine Hall on December 21 during his Christmas address to the Curia. (Photo by Alessandra Tarantino)VATICAN CITY — In response to the "unimaginable" scandal of clerical sex abuse against minors, the Church must reflect, repent, and do everything possible to rectify the injustices suffered by victims as it works to prevent such abuse from ever happening again, said Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope said he and others were "dismayed" when, during a year dedicated to the world's priests, further cases of clerical sex abuse came to light "to a degree we could not have imagined."

"We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves," the pope said Dec. 20 in his annual pre-Christmas address to the Roman Curia and cardinals who reside in Rome. The Roman Curia are the employees of the Vatican who assist the Holy Father in the administration and mission of the Church.

In his seven-page reflection on the past year, the pope dedicated a large part of his speech to the impact of sex abuse by priests.

He said priests who committed such scandals "twist" the sacrament of ordination into its "antithesis" when they, "under the mantle of the sacred, profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime."

The face of the Church is soiled and her clothes torn "because of the sins of priests," the pope said, referring to the writings of the 12th-century German mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen, who had visions of a Church wounded and sullied because of abuses by clergy evident in her day.

Continue reading the Pope's Statement on the St. Louis Review website »

Pope not changing Church teaching on condom use

Pope Benedict XVI waved to those in St. Peter's Basilica during the entrance procession of the Mass of the Rings earlier this week.Despite media claims of a revolutionary change, Pope Benedict is not altering Catholic teaching on condom use or justifying the disordered use of sexuality.

Vatican City (CNA/EWTN) — Despite media claims of a revolutionary change, Pope Benedict is not altering Catholic teaching on condom use or justifying the disordered use of sexuality, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has explained.

In a Nov. 21 statement from Vatican Radio, Fr. Lombardi discussed the Pope’s comments in Peter Seewald’s forthcoming book “Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.”

In these comments “the Pope is not reforming or changing the teaching of the Church but he reaffirms it, putting it in the perspective of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility,” the spokesman said.

In Seewald’s book, Pope Benedict says that the Church “of course” does not regard condom use as “a real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS. According to Fr. Lombardi, his treatment of the topic considers an “exceptional situation” in which a sexual act presents a true risk for another’s life.

In a short passage at the end of the tenth chapter of Seewald’s book, the Pope discusses the “banalization of sexuality,” which treats sexuality as a drug. The pontiff uses the example of a prostitute.

“In such a case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered exercise of sexuality,” the spokesman explained. Rather, the use of the condom to lessen the danger of contagion may be “a first act of responsibility” and “a first step on the path toward a more human sexuality” rather than acting to put another’s life at risk.

Continue reading on the Catholic News Agency Website »

Further Reading

New Media Need More Christian Witnesses, Pope Tells Communicators

As more and more Catholics use Twitter, Facebook and other Social media tools to communicate, Pope Benedict urges them to always give witness to their beliefs, and give new media outlets a 'soul.'By Carol Glatz (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI called on Catholic communication workers to give witness to their beliefs and to help infuse new media outlets with "a soul."

"More than through technical resources, although necessary, we want to confirm ourselves living in this (digital) universe, too, with a believing heart so that it may contribute to giving a soul to the Internet's endless flow of communication," he said April 24.

The pope made his comments during an audience with participants of a national congress on digital media organized by the Italian bishops' conference. The congress, which ran April 22-24, was titled, "Digital Witnesses. Faces and Languages in the Cross-media Era."

During the congress, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told participants that truth, transparency and credibility were paramount in communications.

"Secrecy and confidentiality, even given their positive aspects, are not values that are cultivated by today's culture. It is necessary to be able to have nothing to hide," Father Lombardi said in his address to the congress April 24.

Today is "above all a time of truth, transparency, and credibility," he said.

U.S. Bishops Voice Concern for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, Thank Pope Benedict for Leadership

From the USCCB's release, U.S. Bishops Voice Concern for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, Thank Pope Benedict for Leadership:

  • Pope Benedict has reached to victims personally and as leader
  • Backed bishops’ response to victims, dealing with perpetrators, safe environment work
  • Prays with them especially for victims in Holy Week

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops March 30 voiced concern for victims of child sexual abuse by clerics and praised Pope Benedict XVI for leadership in dealing with the sin and crime of child sexual abuse.

“We know from our experience how Pope Benedict is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed by sexual abuse and how he has strengthened the Church’s response to victims and supported our efforts to deal with perpetrators,” the bishops said. “We continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. Further, we work with others in our communities to address the prevalence of sexual abuse in the larger society.”

The bishops’ comments came in a statement issued by the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president; Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, vice-president; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, treasurer; Bishop George Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio, secretary; and Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, elected member.

Read the complete statement from the USCCB (click to read more).

Syndicate content