Not often does a âgood manâ embrace responsibility and accountability for being unable and deficient in handling the challenges that our modern world conjures up. No matter how it is worded, phrased or converted to homily, it would be dishonest not to admit that the Catholic Church is worse off today, the laity wandering, lost, more moral, spiritual and social disruption than when Pope Benedict XVI took office.
âMy formerly honored regiment of Catholic priests has been disgraced by an infiltration of pedophiles into its ranks. My colleagues and I bear that dark shadow to this day. Itâs cause: the failure of many bishops to obey Canon 1395. Yes, itâs that simple! The canon orders punishment for a priest, who sexually abuses a minor. Punishment, not therapy! Much less secret reassignment with damage to more children! Furthermore, no bishop has been punished by his superior, as required by Canon 1389, for failure to enforce Canon 1395. Regardless of good intentions, bishops and their superiors are responsible for the effects of what they do or fail to do under their job descriptions. A tiny minority of priests abused children; an estimated two thirds of the nationâs bishops secretly reassigned abusers.
Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, John Paul II, has on visits here apologized for this shameful abuse. But neither has shown that he understands the problem. If a problem is not understood, it cannot be solved. Both popes see the problem residing in individual priests. No finger is pointed at a bishop. Benedict in Australia recently declared, âI ask all of you to support and assist your bishops in combating this evilâ. Sorry! Benedict has it backwards. He should ask the bishops to listen to and work with the laity. They understand the source of the problem; our bishops, for the most part, do not! In his trip to the US, Benedict on April 15, 2008 apologized for the pain caused by the sexual abuse phenomenon. He declared that it had âbeen badly handledâ. Use of the passive voice enabled him to avoid saying by whom it had been badly handled.â
The newspapers 2013 are full, daily headlines overflowing with the details, the disgust, the imperfections, the spiritual corruptions of what was thought to be the âbestâ amongst us, spiritual leaders serving us. Ground zero for the fall of this once great institution was Boston and Cardinal Bernard Law. The corrupt foot soldiers are many but Cardinal Roger Mahoney is surely at the top of those who, in the words of Lord Acton, were great men who were undoubtedly âbad menâ.
âPope Benedict XVI To Resign On Feb. 28 2013, Due To Health Concerns. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.â
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the Braque of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
The Global sexual abuse scandal has clearly demonstrated the fallibility of mankind in the realm of criminal predator and spiritual champion. âNot to speak is to speakâ. âNot to act is to act.â And these missteps have taken their toll.
âContenders to be his successor include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops. Longshots include Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Although Dolan is popular and backs the pope’s conservative line, the general thinking is that the Catholic Church doesn’t need a pope from a “superpower.” But the template these leaders will have to walk through is the Church sexual abuse scandal. What did they know, when did they know it and what did they do about it. If the world holds âtruth to powerâ there are few, possibly if any, who are worthy.
“If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,” Benedict said. Sadly but thankfully, in the words of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi; âI like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.â âA religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.â
There should be no canonization for at least the last five Popes as they most certainly knew about the Church Sexual Abuse Scandal and did nothing elsewise they most certainly were remarkably incompetent on this narrow but colossal pillar of the Church, the protection of the children. Please pray for a great man who was not up to the task God asked of him.