A former pope blames the swinging sixties for clerical crimes

20190413_BLP508Source: The Economist

JUST AS Pope Francis struggles to stop his well-regarded papacy being overshadowed by charges of laxity over child abuse, his predecessor has emerged from retirement to make an unexpected intervention. Benedict, the pope emeritus who turns 92 next week, has blamed a surge of criminal acts against children by clerics on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

He offered this diagnosis in an essay of nearly 6,000 words that was published in a German monthly, Klerusblatt, and rapidly retransmitted across the Catholic media. The stated purpose of this contentious piece of writing, which varies from personal reminiscence to dense theological argument, was to assist the deliberations of the current pontiff, who convened a global meeting on child abuse in February after reports of dreadful crimes and cover-ups in countries ranging from Ireland to the United States, and from Chile to Australia. But many supporters of Francis, as well as those who observe the church from outside, will find the older cleric’s analysis far from helpful. Benedict resigned unexpectedly in 2013, becoming the first pontiff to step down for 600 years, and he has lived quietly in Rome since then.

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Categories: Catholic Church

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