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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: Church’s Sexual Immoralities Rooted in ’60s Sexual Revolution, Moral Decay

April 11, 2019

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to retire from the papacy in nearly 600 years, has written a 6000-word letter that posits the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual immoralities, specifically within the clerical ranks, began with the sexual revolution in the 1960s and led to “homosexual cliques” embedding themselves in Catholic seminaries.

The letter is the first time the former head of the Church has publicly opined about major church matters since his resignation.

“It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption,” Benedict XVI writes in “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse,” published in Klerusblatt, a Bavarian publication for Catholic clerics.

The former pontiff also writes that a “[p]art of the physiognomy of the Revolution of ‘68 was that pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate. [..] At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society.”

It was partly due to this collapse, Benedict XVI suggests, that led to the Church’s sexual abuse scandal which ravaged both the Church and the Church’s worldwide reputation, as news reports about priestly sexual abuse of children began in earnest, particularly in 2002.

Benedict XVI argues that the disregard for natural law, on which traditional Catholic moral theology is mostly based, has had deleterious effects on both the Church and culture since Vatican II, particularly those discussions stemming from Vatican II that led some moral theologians to accept and promote that “there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative value judgments.”

Benedict XVI, and many others in the Church, including his predecessor Pope John Paul II, fundamentally reject the idea morality is without absolute limits as defined by God’s creation and by the Christian understanding of God’s image presented in Holy Scripture.

“For the young people in the Church, but not only for them, this was in many ways a very difficult time. I have always wondered how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications. The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were a consequence of all these developments,” Benedict writes.

He further notes:

“Indeed, in many parts of the Church, conciliar attitudes were understood to mean having a critical or negative attitude towards the hitherto existing tradition, which was now to be replaced by a new, radically open relationship with the world. One bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith.”

Benedict XVI connects this moral decline to pedophilia, and to those priests who committed sexual crimes against children those priests were meant to shepherd in the Faith.

Various compromised leaders in the Church, he suggests, mostly committed to protecting the rights of the accused, i.e., priests accused of pedophilia, failed to recognize the need to protect the integrity of the Faith, and the “little ones” who adhere to it, from corruption and falsehood. In fact, Benedict XVI believes that a call to protect the Faith, which would entail protecting victims of priestly abuse and not just accused priests, “generally falls on deaf ears.”

“A balanced canon law that corresponds to the whole of Jesus’ message must therefore not only provide a guarantee for the accused, the respect for whom is a legal good. It must also protect the Faith, which is also an important legal asset. A properly formed canon law must therefore contain a double guarantee — legal protection of the accused, legal protection of the good at stake. If today one puts forward this inherently clear conception, one generally falls on deaf ears when it comes to the question of the protection of the Faith as a legal good. In the general awareness of the law, the Faith no longer appears to have the rank of a good requiring protection. This is an alarming situation which must be considered and taken seriously by the pastors of the Church.”

Benedict XVI also said that the “absence of God” in the secular West has led to pedophilia (noting that some even advocate for it), with even members of the Church participating in all the absence of God portends.

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. We Christians and priests also prefer not to talk about God, because this speech does not seem to be practical,” Benedict XVI writes.

In the end, Benedict XVI calls for the Church and its members to return to a life lived in conformity with, and obedience to, the fullness of Jesus Christ:

“Indeed, the Church today is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus. One speaks of it almost exclusively in political categories, and this applies even to bishops, who formulate their conception of the church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms. The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, urges us to regard the Church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign. But a self-made Church cannot constitute hope. […] The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. […]

“When thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another Church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ.”

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