Posts Tagged pope benedict xvi

Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds / The New York Times

“‘Many described this time as the darkest period of their lives, dominated by violence, fear and helplessness,’ Mr. (Ulrich) Weber said (attorney leading independent inquiry).” (The New York Times)

For decades, a ‘culture of silence’ pervaded a Catholic music school where the brother of a future pope directed a renowned boys’ choir, contributing to an environment in which at least 547 children were abused, a lawyer who carried out an investigation of the mistreatment said on Tuesday (Jul. 18).

“The estimate of the number of children abused was far greater than a previous figure, 231, that the lawyer gave last year.

“The choir — the Regensburg Domspatzen, literally the Cathedral Sparrows — dates to the 10th century and continues to perform at Sunday Mass in Regensburg’s 16th-century Gothic cathedral. The choir’s music director from 1964 to 1994 was the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, whose younger brother, Joseph Ratzinger, reigned as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013.”

By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times — Read more …

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Who will bring forth Pope Francis’ vision? / National Catholic Reporter

Might all of Pope Francis’ efforts at reform be for naught?

Pope Francis, with the publication of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), has offered a broad and deep reflection on the myriad (and often messy) issues concerning marriage, the family and human sexuality.

“And in doing so, the 79-year-old pope has also put forth a clear vision of Christian discipleship. It is one based more on personal responsibility and prayerful discernment than on the mere following of church rules …

“… He is attempting to pick up the journey that the church had embarked upon in the first decade or so following Vatican II, but one that John Paul II halted and began to “correct” and recalibrate early on in his long pontificate (1978-2005) …

“But there is a serious challenge here. The vast majority of the world’s bishops, younger clergy (under the age of 45 or so) and seminarians are squarely on the road that St. John Paul II and his German successor built. Too many find themselves greatly conflicted by Francis and all that he is doing to shake up and renew the church.

“A good number of them are rigid personalities obsessed with the ‘clarity’ of doctrine, who find their identity in a churchy world of black and white (like the uniform they wear) and exude confidence in being the recognized and unchallenged upholders of the Truth that they believe is possessed by the church alone.”

By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter —  Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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What Pope Benedict knew about abuse in the Catholic Church / The New Yorker

Does the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal come down to this? — “When one of the former Legionaries expressed his frustration, in the lawsuit, about the Church’s inaction (regarding clergy sexual abuse allegations), (Jason) Berry and (Gerald) Renner reported in their book (“Vows of Silence), the Legionaries’ own canon lawyer, Martha Wegan, who made no secret that her first loyalty was to the Church, replied, “‘It is better for eight innocent men to suffer than for millions to lose their faith.'” (excerpt from the story cited below; emphasis added)

The election of Pope Francis, in 2013, had the effect, among other things, of displacing the painful story of priestly sexual abuse that had dominated public awareness of the Church during much of the eight-year papacy of his predecessor. The sense that the Church, both during the last years of Benedict and under Francis, had begun to deal more forcefully with the issue created a desire in many, inside and outside the Church, to move on. But recent events suggest that we take another careful look at this chapter of Church history before turning the page.”

By Alexander Stille, The New Yorker — Click here to read the rest of this story

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In new scandals, Catholicism feels the birth pains of reform / Cruxnow.com

Recently news broke in Germany about widespread sexual and physical abuse at a well-known Catholic boys’ choir, news that ricocheted around the world because when the abuse occurred, the choir was being directed by Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the brother of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI … Around the same time, the Vatican was reeling from the latest twists in the ‘Vatileaks 2.0’ saga, centering on leaks of secret papal documents revealing various kinds of financial corruption or dubious expenditures … Both stories are embarrassing for the Vatican and for the Church, and both raise troubling questions … Lost in the shuffle, however, is another point that both the German abuse story and Vatileaks 2.0 have in common: Neither would have come to light had the Church itself not made the decision to get to the bottom of things.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Benedict’s brother says he was unaware of abuse / The New York Times

The Rev. Georg Ratzinger, the elder brother of former Pope Benedict XVI, said in an interview published Sunday (Jan. 10) that he had no knowledge that young boys in an internationally known German church choir he directed for 30 years had suffered sexual abuse.

“‘I did not hear anything at all about sexual abuse,’ Father Ratzinger, 91, told a Bavarian regional newspaper, Passauer Neue Presse. ‘I was not aware that any sexual abuse was taking place at that time.’

“Reports of physical and sexual abuse in the choir, the Regensburger Domspatzen in Bavaria, first emerged in 2010 as part of a nationwide wave of revelations linking officials of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany to the mistreatment of children.”

By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Francis codifies pope’s ability to fire bishops / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has codified his ability to effectively fire Catholic bishops, saying that in some circumstances, he ‘can consider it necessary’ to ask them to resign their offices.

“The move, which the Vatican announced Wednesday (Nov. 5), seems to be an attempt by Francis to clear up any ambiguity about the pontiff’s power to replace prelates around the world. While Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, have effectively removed bishops in the past, their power to do so was not previously so explicit in the church’s laws.

“Wednesday’s change comes in a short edict approved Monday (Nov. 3) by Francis at the request of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state. Composed of seven short articles, the edict addresses the resignation of diocesan bishops and papal appointees.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Benedict XVI OK’s abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says / Religion News Service

A showdown between Pope Francis and a conservative bishop in Paraguay is heating up as the bishop rejected charges that he sheltered a priest accused of sexual misconduct, and claimed that Pope Benedict XVI himself vouched for the suspect cleric just days before his election as pope in 2005.

“The conflict between the Vatican and Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este was sparked by revelations in March that the bishop had promoted a Catholic priest who had been barred from ministry in Pennsylvania after church officials there said he molested several boys.”

By David Gibson, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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