Monday, February 11, 2013

Good Riddance to Ratzinger

My mouth dropped this morning when I heard Pope Benedict XVI is resigning "for health reasons."

He has a lot of other reasons to resign, primarily his involvement in covering up accusations of child sexual abuse while he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Survivors and activists against child sexual abuse by priests in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the US, and other nations are quoted in today's article on The Guardian website titled "Pope Benedict 'complicit in child sex abuse scandals,' say victims' groups."

In Los Angeles it has been only ten days since Cardinal Roger Mahony was "relieved of administrative duties" in the Archdiocese here, where he was formerly archbishop.  

This action was taken by the current archbishop.  In order for him to rebuke Cardinal Mahoney, officials at the Vatican had to have given approval, including the Pope.

Likewise, there had to be a lot of debate over this retirement of the Pope, something that hasn't happened in nearly 600 years.  

There had to be agreement that it was the right thing to do, and in the past, ill health has not been a reason to rock the boat by resigning.  The Pope as spiritual leader has continued up to his death, whether or not he could actively travel and administer the Vatican.

Perhaps the release of thousands of pages of cover-up documentation in California was the last straw for cardinals in Rome managing the Church's public relations.  Perhaps some realized that Ratzinger's handling of the abuse cases that came to his desk was a liability--or at least a crying shame.  

Some forces in the Vatican wanted to wipe the slate clean and start over--but they clearly didn't want to advertise the Papacy turning over a new leaf.    

A priest in San Francisco is reporting that the Pope said this morning that he had "prayed about it again and again" before making this announcement.

If this Pope was indeed praying so deeply, he would have known in his heart that his own handling of child sexual abuse by priests was very much like Cardinal Mahony's.  To approve the rebuke of Mahony while and continue to reign over the Catholic Church might have seemed to him a bit hypocritical.

Perhaps I am giving Ratzinger and the other men in Rome too much credit, but reports are now coming out that he was "not a good administrator" and the Church wanted to start over with someone else.

That's probably as close as they can come to revealing the truth.

Hooray to the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press for continuing to press for release of the files on priestly sexual abuse in this archdiocese.  Their work led to the silencing of Roger Mahony, which may have been the foreshock triggering today's earthquake.

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