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

Pope Benedict XVI to Highlight Authenticity and Truth in a Digital Age

Pope Benedict reached out to the youth in New York in 2008.VATICAN CITY (VIS) - Made public today was the theme chosen by the Pope for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications: "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age." His Message for the Day will be published on 24 January 2011, feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of journalists.

An English-language note released by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explains that the theme is "to be understood as focusing on the human person who is at the heart of all communicative processes. Even in an age that is largely dominated, and at times conditioned, by new technologies, the value of personal witness remains essential.

"To approach the truth and to take on the task of sharing it", the note adds, "requires the 'guarantee' of an authenticity of life from those who work in the media, and especially from Catholic journalists; an authenticity of life that is no less required in a digital age.

"Technology, on its own, cannot establish or enhance a communicator's credibility, nor can it serve as a source of the values which guide communication. The truth must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world, opening up new horizons of information and knowledge. Ideally, it is the pursuit of truth which constitutes the fundamental objective of all those who work in the media."

Read this release on the Vatican Information Service website »

From EWTN: News Everybody Missed from Pope Benedict's UK Visit

Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the UK Parliament about the role of religion in society and its contribution to national life. (Press Association/Parliament photo).The Pope saved the most important news of his visit to the United Kingdom for the end. Most people didn't even hear or see it. But I imagine Thomas More and John Henry Newman were smiling…

In November of 2009, Pope Benedict issued an extraordinary invitation to Anglicans disaffected by the changes taking place in their communion. The failure to affirm traditional Christian orthodoxy, the ordination of gays, the recent push to create female Anglican bishops have splintered the communion and caused heartbreak among both clergy and laity. Anglicans all over the world, parishes, and some dioceses had petitioned Rome to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As a "pastoral response" the Pope released his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. It allows individual Anglicans, clergy, even whole dioceses to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining their traditions, devotions, and liturgical practices.

The Archbishop of Canterbury (according to a few Anglican officials I recently spoke with) felt "ambushed by the constitution" and was frustrated that there wasn't more "consultation" before its release. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Archbishop of Canterbury at an ecumenical prayer service at Westminster Abbey last week, the Pope made the case for "Christian unity" while recalling the real world challenges that block the way. The Pope said "fidelity" which demands obedience to God's "true word" was needed: "an obedience which must be free of intellectual conformism or facile accommodation to the spirit of the age." The Pope was clearly referencing the recent actions by the Anglican church which had “accommodated the spirit of the age” and created lasting barriers to the goal of full unity. But the Pope was so genial, and his delivery so mild, that the tough talk received little coverage and was largely ignored.

Follow Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom

Papal KeysFrom Thursday, September 16, through Sunday, September 19, Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the United Kingdom on the occasion of the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

The official website for the Apostolic Journey describes one of the highlights of the visit, Cardinal Newman's beatification, which will occur on September 19:

John Henry Cardinal Newman will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in the Archdiocese of Birmingham on 19 September 2010. This great Victorian Catholic theologian, much loved the world over, will be declared "Blessed". The miracle required for Cardinal Newman’s beatification was officially recognised by the Holy See on 3 July 2009. In our Cardinal Newman section, you can read his biography, look at key teachings and reflect on Deacon Jack Sullivan's miracle cure from a serious spinal disorder that has led to this autumn's beatification.

You can follow along with the events of this Apostolic Journey through two different websites:

  • Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom [from the Vatican.va website]
    This website will offer links to all the texts of Pope Benedict's speeches and homilies while in the U.K., and will include photo galleries, links to live streams from CTV, and already has a downloadable Program and Missal for the Apostolic Journey.
  • The Visit [a U.K. website for this event]
    This website will be a central resource for everything going on during the visit, including peripheral events. The Visit website also has links to relevant social media profiles to follow for more information: Papal Visit Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube
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