Monday, December 20, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI said the Catholic Church must reflect on what is wrong with its message and Christian life in general that allowed for the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests. While accepting responsiblity for the scandal, Benedict said the abuse must also be seen in the broader social context, in which child pornography and sexual tourism are rampant, and where as recently as the 1970s pedophilia wasn't considered the absolute evil that it is today. The pope made the remarks to Vatican cardinals and bishops gathered for his traditional Christmas speech, an eagerly anticipated address that Benedict uses to press key issues he wants the church hierarchy to reflect on. While stressing that most priests do good, honest work, Benedict said revelations of abuse in 2010 reached "an unimaginable dimension" that required the church to accept the "humiliation" as a call for renewal. "We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred," Benedict said. "We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our message, in our entire way of configuring the Christian being, that allowed such a thing to occur. We must find a new determination in faith and goodness." Pope Benedict has previously acknowledged that the scandal was the result of sin within the church and that the church as a result must repent for it and make amends with victims. His most recent comments suggested that there might be some intrinsic problem with the way Christianity and its message was understood in the modern world that allowed for the abuse to fester unchecked. So what does this say to the Catholics in the pew? It appears to be a call to action from the Pope. We must become more concerned and active in expressing the Catholic view on the world.