Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t understand why priests were molesting children in Ireland. None of us really do, but in a recent statement, Benedict demonstrates how out of touch he is, and how he still refuses to look at the deeper issues within the church that lead to such massive worldwide abuse and coverup. In any organization where there is illegal or immoral activity on so large a scale, the obvious place to look is at the top. Neither Benedict nor the other Vatican leaders have stepped forward to accept the responsibility that rightfully belongs at their feet.
Benedict commented on the scandals of sexual abuse and cover-ups by church hierarchy in a pre-recorded video message for an outdoor Mass attended by 75,000 Catholics, many from overseas, in Ireland’s largest sports stadium. Ireland’s prime minister and president attended the Mass, the final event of a Eucharistic Congress aimed at shoring up flagging faith.
The weeklong Eucharistic Congress, held by the Vatican every four years in a different part of the world, took place against a backdrop of deep anger over child abuse cover-ups and surveys showing declining weekly Mass attendance in Ireland, where church and state were once tightly entwined.
“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?” said the pope, referring to church staff who abused children.
“It remains a mystery,” he said. “Yet evidently their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ. It had become merely a matter of habit.”
He continues to push the scandal away from the hierarchy and blame it on the individual priests.
Yet, he said, “thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care.”
“Instead of showing them the path toward Christ, toward God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the church’s message,” the pope said.
In other news, the Devil has infested journalists who reported on the banking and money laundering at the Vatican Bank, at least according to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The interview with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who ranks second only to the Pope, was the latest attempt at damage control by senior Vatican officials since the leaks scandal began in January.
In a rare interview with the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, accused the media of “intentionally ignoring” the good things the Church does while dwelling on scandals.
“Many journalists are playing the game of trying to imitate Dan Brown,” said Bertone, referring to the bestselling author of novels such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”.
“They (journalists) continue to invent fairytales and repeat legends,” he said.
Bertone said the media were full of “pettiness and lies spread in these days,” adding that “outside Italy people have a hard time trying to understand the vehemence of some Italian newspapers”.
He said the Church was “an unequivocal reference point for countless people and institutions around the world” and added: “This is why there is an attempt to destabilise it”.
Bertone branded as false the image of the Vatican as a place of intrigue and power struggles, saying: “The truth is that there is an attempt to sow division that comes from the Devil”.
These are the men who interpret the absolute morality of their God and expect believers and non-believers alike to pay attention to them.