Ratzinger stirs up controversy with ideas on abuse

Joseph Ratzinger has written an essay in which he blames the ideology of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and sex education classes for sex abuse. It was during his time as Pope Benedict that it became known that thousands of children worldwide had been abused by members of the clergy. Why is he speaking out on this subject now?

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Battle for interpretational sovereignty

Deutschlandfunk speculates on what has prompted Ratzinger to speak out now:

“Hang on, didn't he retire? Didn't he want to pray and be silent? That's what he promised. But he often silently speaks out from his monastery in Rome. Those who despise Francis have been waiting for this sign of life, because in their eyes their pope is still in office; he's not the emeritus, but the eternal. ... The pope emeritus has performed the miracle of keeping his vow of silence in his writings: he remains silent on what he himself did and omitted to do, as Joseph Ratzinger, as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as Pope. ... But with this text Church policy will be conducted. It is a word of command, well-placed in a battle of interpretation in which the victims of sexual violence don't matter.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A weapon for Francis's opponents

Now things will get awkward in the Vatican, comments Domenico Agasso Jr, coordinator of La Stampa's website Vatican Insider:

“Up to now the balance has been maintained thanks to the cordial relations between the two popes and the circumspection of the pope emeritus. But now the presence of two popes will weigh heavily on the Holy See. ... What makes the situation worse is the subject, which is decisive for Bergoglio's papacy and for the Church as a whole. The accusation is clear: the [retired] pope has launched an attack with a text that can be seen as representing 'a pastoral and theological line that runs parallel to the pope's line' and can therefore be used as a weapon by Pope Francis's opponents.”

Večernji list (HR) /

He should know better

Večernji list sees the accusations of the ex-pope as absurd:

“Ratzinger puts forward the theory that gay culture is responsible for paedophilia in the Church and the loss of faith among the public. This, of course, isn't true. Just as it isn't true that the sexual revolution of 1968 advocated the legalisation of paedophilia. ... Ratzinger himself wrote in his letter to Irish Catholics that the Congress of Spanish bishops in Elvira condemned child abuse in the year 306 and denied the perpetrators communion. So paedophilia existed before 1968 and Ratzinger knows that. All those who oppose Pope Francis will certainly know how to exploit this text to their own advantage.”