Pope does not mention rebuke to Irish bishops

Mar 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Pope does not mention rebuke to Irish bishops

By FRANCES D’EMILIO, Associated Press Writer Frances D’emilio, Associated Press Writer Sun Mar 21, 2:09 pm ET
Yahoo News

Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged Catholics to refrain from judging sinners a day after he rebuked Irish bishops for their handling of a half-century of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

While the pope made no mention of the Vatican’s widely criticized policy of cloaking abuse allegations in secrecy, a Swiss churchman called for the Holy See to start a registry of molester clergy to avoid more shuttling by bishops of pedophile priests from parish to parish.

The pontiff didn’t mention his letter chastising Ireland’s church hierarchy as he made his weekly appearance Sunday from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square. He cited the Gospel passage about Jesus’ inviting those without sin to cast the first stone toward an adulterer.

“While acknowledging her sin, he does not condemn her, but urges her to sin no more,” Benedict told English-speaking pilgrims in the square. “Trusting in his great mercy toward us, we humbly beg his forgiveness for our own failings, and we ask for the strength to grow in his holiness.”

In Germany, meanwhile, the news magazine Focus quoted the head of the German Bishops Conference on Sunday as acknowledging that Roman Catholic church consciously covered up cases of sexual abuse.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg said that while most cases happened outside the church, “assaults that took place in such numbers within our institutions shame and frighten me.”

“Every single case darkens the face of the entire church,” he said.

On Saturday, Zollitsch apologized personally for a sexual abuse cover-up that happened 20 years ago in a Black Forest community while he was in charge of human resources at the Freiburg diocese.

In the missive made public Saturday by the Vatican, Benedict said Irish bishops made grave errors of judgment about the abuse. But he didn’t blame Vatican policies that kept the abuse secret for making the situation worse, as victims in Ireland, the United States and elsewhere have claimed. He also issued no punishment for derelict Irish bishops.

The pope said Jesus taught people to “not judge and not condemn one’s neighbor. Let us learn to be intransigent toward sin — starting with our own (sin) — and indulgent with people.”

Abuse scandals involving Catholic dioceses, monasteries and other institutions — including a Regensburg, Germany, boys choir long led by the pope’s brother — have been exploding across Europe. Besides the pope’s homeland of Germany, where Benedict once was the archbishop of Munich, other nations such as Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy have seen victims come forward recently with allegations of abuse as well as cover-ups.

Underlings in the Munich archdiocese have sought to spare the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who became Pope Benedict in 2005 — of any responsibility for the sex abuse scandal. Lower-ranking prelates have shouldered the blame for the poor handling of cases, including decisions to allow molesters to continue to have contact with children.

In Switzerland, Martin Werlin, abbot of the Benedictine Abbey at Einsiedeln, criticized the pope and other bishops for their reaction to the scandal. “I fear that the church leadership in Rome fails to take the situation seriously enough,” he was quoted as saying by the weekly newspaper SonntagsBlick.

Werlen urged the creation of a central register at the Vatican for pedophile priests and other men in the church guilty of child abuse “because it is clear that moves (of priests) can take place from one country to another.”

In many of the scandals, bishops have been accused by victims of having shuffled around molester priests after complaints were lodged.

For years now, Catholic churches in the United States, Australia and Canada have grappled with sexual abuse cases, cover-ups by hierarchy and huge financial payments to victims.

A U.S.-based group of advocates for clergy abuse victims said two American women among its members would arrive in Germany on Monday to “offer help to adults who were sexually assaulted by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers and bishops.” Two male members would head to Rome soon, according to the statement from SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“SNAP is sorely disappointed in the pope’s recent letter to Ireland,” the statement said.

In his letter to the Irish faithful, Benedict apologized to victims but cited no specific punishments to bishops. Investigations sponsored by the Irish government accused the bishops of covering up abuse of thousands of children in parishes, orphanages, workhouses and other church-run institutions from the 1930s to the 1990s.

A top Vatican official on Sunday brushed off those who insist the Holy See take some blame.

Critics, including victims advocacy groups, point to a 2001 policy, directed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger at the Vatican, which cloaked church handling of cases in secrecy. That in many instances effectively granted impunity to child molesters.

Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of a pontifical university in Rome, contended the pope’s letter to Irish faithful signaled a “decisive” break with the past.

“The pope uses very harsh words toward those who betrayed their vocation and just as harsh words toward those who maintained silence and hid crimes,” he told the Avvenire daily.

In Regensburg, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller likened media coverage of the abuse scandal in the Catholic church to the Nazis’ hostility toward the Catholics, Bayerischer Rundfunk radio reported Sunday.

Separately, in a letter to the community, Mueller wrote that “those who want to discredit the reputation of the Catholic Church by any price have chosen the Regensburger Domspatzen as their victims.”

Mueller was referring to the choir rocked by a physical abuse scandal in recent weeks. The choir was run by the pope’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, for 30 years.

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  1. If that don’t beat all!!

    Sounds almost as ludicrous as when Pope John Paul forgave the children for tempting the righteous priests with deviant sexual desires.


    “As Jesus said, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,'” the pope continued. “We must send a clear message to these hundreds—perhaps thousands—of children whose sinful ways have tempted so many of the church’s servants into lustful violation of their holy vows of celibacy. The church forgives them for their transgressions and looks upon them not with intolerance, but compassion.”

    The papal announcement arrives in response to public outcry over the sex scandal sweeping the Catholic church in the U.S. Though official church doctrine condemns such transgressions, the pope’s decision, observers say, is intended to demonstrate the church’s willingness to put the scandal behind it and restore the public trust.

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  2. One would expect the Pope, of all religious people in the world, to have studied Number 25:1-13, among other scriptures, and to comprehend the tenor of God’s Holy Word.
    He should also know that John 7:53 to John 8:11 is spurious and not found in the earliest manuscripts. It was probably introduced by the RCC about the time of Jerome for it appeared in some Latin and Greek manuscripts after that. Now we know why.
    How could one reconcile John 8:11 with what Paul said in Hebrews? “But unto the Son [Jesus] he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb. 1:8,9).
    It is dangerous to be more loving than God or to add or subtract from his Holy Word (Rev. 22:18,19)!

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