Pope Emeritus Benedict - The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse


This is a false dichotomy. False accusations of sexual misconduct were a favored tactic of the Soviet and other governments. The popes we are talking about witnessed the disinformation campaigns first hand. It is entirely possible that many accusations were considered this. In addition not that long ago the abusers were thought to be reform able. Many were sent to treatment, cleared for ministry then abused again.

But not directed at you…
I find it very disheartening that so many on this forum are so willing to set themselves as judges of Popes. In the case of John Paul II we are speaking of a canonized saint. I guess the posters on this forum are somehow superior intellectually or morally to some of the most brilliant, holy men of the 20th century.



Oh good grief. That’s just passing the buck and looking for excuses. The underlying human lusts and misconducts have always been there, just read St. Paul’s letter to the Romans for example. Perhaps prior to the 60s the thin veneer that was making society look homogenous and pure was still in place; that has since come off no doubt, and revealed the rot underneath that has existed since the Fall.

But don’t make the mistake of assuming that it was always sweet and pure before then. Many of these abuse cases happened in the 50s. That’s prior to Vatican II and the sexual revolution. The parish priest in my mother’s parish was known to be a molester in the '40s for heaven’s sake, and parents knew well enough back then to keep their kids from being alone with him. Of course nothing happened, He was untouchable because he was a priest.

My mother and her generation also had many horror stories of some very wicked sisters that taught them in boarding school (but also some very good ones).

Read up on the Residential Schools (for aboriginals) in Canada, and the horrible abuses they suffered… starting in the 19th Century.

With all due respect to the Holy Father Emeritus, he has his head buried deeply in the sand on this issue.

In fact I’m terribly disappointed with the entire Church hierarchy on the crisis. It has shaken my faith to the very core, especially in the Church’s absolutist view of a sexuality that her own princes impose on the riff-raff in the pews without holding themselves to the same standards (O’Brien, McCarrick, Pell)

1 Like


What false dichotomy? What third, good option is there to explain the actions of Church leadership.

As to judgment, I set myself as judge of no one. I am merely pointing out facts.



He did not believe the accusations for one option, because of so many similar false accusations employed by the Soviets in the past.

Just one of many possibilities.



I’m not arguing that the culture was flawless and pure before the decades beginning with the 1960’s. I’m simply noting that’s when the sexual revolution had its inception and flowering, and it had an effect on the culture.

It started before the 1960’s with such things as the publishing of Playboy magazine in 1953. On the first page of the first issue, Hugh Hefner wrote this: “We want to make it clear from the very start, we aren’t a ‘family magazine.’ If you’re somebody’s sister, wife or mother-in-law and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to your ​Ladies Home Companion.”

Still many teenage boys worked to convince their moms that it was okay because it had really great articles. Hefner himself used the magazine to promote what he called the “playboy philosophy,” which boiled down to: when it comes to sex, anything goes as long as it’s consensual.

During the next ten years or so, what had once been my favorite newsstand and bookstore transformed itself into a huge porn outlet.

In short, the sexual revolution pretty much advocated for the end of Judeo-Christian morality, and it wasn’t accidental; it was promoted by prominent media leaders and entertainment figures. Of course it made a difference. I’ve read that there were some priests ordained in the 1940’s and 1950’s who were abusers but many did not begin abusing until after the onset of the sexual revolution. It seemed to make it somehow okay.



The 60’s made me do it? What happened to the Catholic teaching on free will?

1 Like


He does not “blame it” on the 60s.

He sets the historical context of the revolutionary upheaval of the 60s to help the reader understand the terible failings of many Catholic theologians, Bishops and Priests who compromized/acquiesced to the prevailing evil of sexual promiscuity and contraception. They abandoned the truth.

The solution does not lie in changing structures but in a renewed fidelity to truth as revield by the Truth himself, and his church’s teaching.



OK, that falls squarely within my option number one - despite decades of evidence, those in a position to do something about it did not know more. How could any reasonable, rational person not believe the thousands of well documented abuse cases? When parishes were paying hundreds of millions of dollars to pay off the victims? When bishops were shuffling predatory priests around? And with what we now know about Marcial Maciel? To the extent Church leadership ignored or failed to look into these facts, why would they do that?

What do the Soviets have to do with anything? Sorry, but that makes no sense whatsoever.



Is your faith in man or God?

And it is not the Church heirachy imposing their views on us…it is God’s view. And they aren’t imposing anything. You are free to do what you want

1 Like


Anyone ever looked up Alfred Kinsey and how detrimental his thinking and experiments were to America?



In Christ.

That it is God’s view, is a matter of faith in the power of binding and loosing.

That’s where I’ve lost my faith, the ability of the Church princes to not only properly discern the Truth, but to equally apply it to themselves, on matters of sexuality.

Coverups, scandals, systematic abuse in Residential schools, gay-bashing while engaging in gay sex themselves… point to a failure of embracing the values they purport to have discerned and propose to us.

Do I still believe in Christ? Yes. Will I become Protestant? No. But there are plenty of places where I once fully embraced the Church’s teaching on sexuality, that I do question. I won’t get into an argument over this though. It is something for me to work out with my spiritual director and over which I wrestle with my conscience.



I guess the question for some would be “was there a sexual revolution” did the sixties happen or not?



I think the 60s just brought out into the open what was already happening behind closed doors. Gay men went to bathhouses behind the backs of their wives, for instance. I’m not sure this was any better than being openly gay. Adultery has always been with us. So has rampant fornication. The Victorian era was famous for it. Winston Churchill’s father died from complications of syphilis!

The pill may have made things easier, but condoms are not a new invention…

1 Like


I guess before we go further…what teaching are you specifically saying the Church is discerning the truth on? B/c the Bible is pretty clear on what is OK and what isn’t.

Gay bashing? Can you expound on that as well? I’ve been Catholic my whole life and have never heard of the Church bashing gays.

No need to get in an argument but what issues on sexuality do you have in regards to church teaching?



The Church’s views on sexuality are essentially St. Thomas of Aquinas’s theory of Natural Law.

Cardinal O’Brien. Very conservative, very anti-gay. Turns out he was abusing his own seminarians…

I’d really rather not discuss it. It will cause the thread to go off the rails, plus far be it from me to lead anyone astray. It suffices to say that I have grave issues of conscience with several of her teachings on human sexuality. Or as one monk I know put it, “it’s not a sexuality designed for humans, it is a sexuality designed for angels”.



After the last several years, I truly hope and pray that many of the things we have seen and learned about/from the hierarchy, that a great deal is not truly God’s view.

My faith in God (the Blessed Trinity) is very strong. My faith in the hierarchy (the Church) may never recover. It has been crushed and trampled on in some very personal ways over the last several years, not just the public scandals. If you statement is true (it’s God’s view), I need to do some major discerning.

I am always happy to hear others that can separate the man from the “man of God” but it is increasingly difficult for me. I follow the historic teachings of the Church and hold them close to me, but as an institution my faith is gone

1 Like


Are you by chance confusing saying homosexual acts are wrong with gay bashing?
Can you point to more general issues besides just saying Aquinas’ teaching? That is pretty vague.

I could make some guesses based on your resopnses but would rather not.



You guys are confusing God’s will and human will.
What the church is doing should not make you lose faith in God or the Church.
You can lose faith in man, but we should never put our faith in man.

The Church’s teaching is sound and from God. That doesn’t mean the Church always lives by what it teaches.

So again, putting your faith in man will always leave you unfulfilled.

So again, what teachings of the Church in regard to sexuality do you have issues with?



No, I’m saying that teaching it while doing the opposite is wrong. Saying something is wrong and doing it yourself is hypocrisy. So either it isn’t wrong because a prince of the Church is doing it, and by saying it is you are gay-bashing. Or it is wrong, and you live by what you teach in which cas you are at least consistent and a good example for others to follow. Saying it’s wrong and doing it anyway, in a layman proves he’s a sinner. Saying it’s wrong and doing anyway, in a Cardinal, is sowing confusion and leading the People of God astray. It’s doubly damnable.

Thank you I appreciate it, as I mentioned I’d rather not discuss that issue for various reasons, one of which is not wanting to lead anyone astray,

I don’t. And I maintain that some of the Church’s teaching on sexuality is in fact, man’s will and not God’s will, or at least man’s misinterpretation of God’s will.

And again I will not discuss it here. It’s not relevant to the argument.



I’m not sure how it isn’t relevant to the argument. You have said you have issues with the Church’s teaching on sexuality and that it is man’s will not God’s, but you won’t say what they are.

I’m pushing so much b/c you are saying you are losing your faith in the church b/c of it’s teaching on sexuality. That’s a pretty big statement. Maybe you don’t completely understand the teaching or there is a misunderstanding? Or maybe it isn’t that you are losing faith b/c of the Church’s TEACHING but b/c of the Church’s hypocrisy. That is completely different.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.