An article discusses the reign of Pope Benedict and argues that there are still “skeletons”. It begins “If a report on Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is to be believed, Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to resign just got a whole lot more interesting. The paper claims that around the time that Pope Benedict decided to step down, the pontiff learned of a faction of gay prelates in the Vatican who may have been exposed to blackmail by a group of male prostitutes in Rome. The revelations allegedly appeared in a 300-page report by three cardinals that the pope commissioned to investigate the release of internal documents by his butler, the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ scandal”.

The piece goes on to mention that “A Vatican spokesman has refused to confirm or deny La Repubblica‘s claims, and the internal Vatican report is reportedly stowed away in a papal safe for Pope Benedict’s successor to peruse”.

The author then goes on to argue “Seen in the context of Pope Benedict’s career in the Catholic Church, it is difficult to understand why revelations of yet another sex scandal would push him to resign. For over a decade, he has served as the church’s point person for responding to allegations of abuse. From 1985 until his election to the papacy in 2005, Benedict served as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”.

The fact that such basic information as Cardinal Ratzinger’s time in office, as prefect of the CDF is inaccurate does not bode well for the credibility of the piece. Equally, the notion that this was the sole justification for Pope Benedict to resign and not his almost 85 years. He continues repeating the Fr Peter Hullermann “scandal”. Despite the fact that no smoking gun was found to directly implicate the then archbishop of Munich. Although it has to be said the young cardinal-archbishop could have been more vigilant in matters of governance, an issue that would deeply effect his papacy.

The writer goes on to repeat old stories that have little relevance in the grand scheme of what Benedict was trying to do. He mentions “In an attempt to help bring closure to victims affected by sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church, two auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, accused of helping to cover up rampant abuse offered Pope Benedict their resignation in 2010. In a move that stunned critics of the church and victims’ rights groups, the pope rejected their resignation and informed the bishops that they would be allowed to stay on”.

Yet, what he does not say is that Bishops Walsh and Field had no direct role in moving abusers around or other matters that would have directly implicated them. Perhaps their resignations should have been accepted but to focus on these issues speaks to both the lack of knowledge and lack of tolerance that many in the media have for the Church.

He ends the piece “By 2010, the hard-line strategy advocated by Pope Benedict became unsustainable. Explosive and wide-ranging reports of abuse — including allegations against Ratzinger himself during his time in Munich — put the church firmly in the cross-hairs of public opinion. Detailed investigations by the Irish government unearthed widespread abuse, and Ireland became something of a ground zero for the scandal. In response, Pope Benedict issued a public apology to his parishioners in Ireland”.

This supposedly “hard line” approach does not bear up to any informed scrutiny when the facts are said, such as Benedict’s meeting with victims on every foreign trip and well as continued and rightful apologies in addition to issuing new norms that his predecessor never did.


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