Certainly one of the most newsworthy happenings this week was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s new article about the sexual abuse crisis. Of course, the usual papal detractors have taken the opportunity to pit Benedict’s opinion against Francis’ reforms and teachings. Others have attacked Benedict for publishing this essay.

However, good apologists have set out to defend both pontiffs. Austen Ivereigh and Pete Vere have written good articles, that explain the wrongfulness of the critics. Also, a Cardinal close to Benedict says that it would sadden the Pope Emeritus very much if his article would be construed as an attack on Francis.

In the meantime, Francis continues to push forward on his reforms to try to curb sexual abuse within the Church. The Vatican has established a Virtual Survivor’s Advisory Panel and is currently working on guidelines to report bishops in abuse cases.

The Holy See’s representative in the United Nations decries this international body’s insistence on “reproductive rights” as a way to advance abortion and deviate resources from the defense of actual human rights.

Very moving! Eighty-two year-old sciatica-suffering Pope Francis kneels down to kiss the feet of South Sudan leaders in order to implore for peace. Watch the vídeo:

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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

Links of interest (Apr 7th – 13th)

17 Responses

  1. carn says:

    “Of course, the usual papal detractors have taken the opportunity to pit Benedict’s opinion against Francis’ reforms and teachings. Others have attacked Benedict for publishing this essay.”

    What the “papal detractors” get right i think is that BXVI’s opinion is contrary to what some people who think they are on Pope Francis “side”; there have been some quite nasty twitter comments by some people who otherwise are very much positive about Pope Francis.




    Also there is some interpretations i read from Ivereigh which are a bit … well.

    But none of that, cause congrats to him for tweeting a graph saying more than a thousand words and fully supporting the 5000 words of BXVI:

    Anybody looking at the curve and still be adamantly confident that sexual revolution plays absolutely guaranteed no role, is a fool. That curve indicates that something crucial happened 1955-1970 and something else happened 1980-1995; the changing attitudes about sexuality are one suspect one cannot disregard.

    “Eighty-two year-old sciatica-suffering Pope Francis kneels down to kiss the feet of South Sudan leaders in order to implore for peace.”

    Anybody knowing why they actually let Pope Francis do this?

    If a 82-year wanted to kiss my feet, i would try to discourage him, cause it would shame me to have that on video; if he would insist i would suggest to him to reverse roles; and if he still insists, i would at least raise me feet, so he doesn’t have to bow all way down.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Regarding Francis’ kissing of feet, let me just tell you that it seems like the second person is precisely trying to do what you said, and not allow the Pope to kiss his feet. The Pope answers him in Italian “permetteme” (I don’t know how it’s written, but as Portuguese speaking person I understand its meaning) which translates as “please allow me”

      I hope to address the rest of your comment at a later occasion.

      • Pete Vickery says:

        Yeah, it definitely sounded like “permiteme” in Spanish which is a polite way of asking “allow me” or “permit me”.

      • carn says:

        To show you that there are some people who are usually positive about Pope Francis are aghast about waht BXVI said:


        “Katholisch.de ist das Internetportal der katholischen Kirche in Deutschland.”

        They claim to be the official site of the catholic Church in Germany, have been founded by the bishop conference and are funded also from Church taxes (whether they are really the official internet site of the catholic Church in Germany is a bit unclear; but so far no bishop ever rejected their claim, that they are) .

        If you cared to search (and were fluent in German), you would find quite a number of articles cleary placing them in what one might call (if being too lazy to precisely define things) “Team Francis” .

        Text of BXVI went public 11.04.2019.

        The first text on katholisch.de painting what BXVI says as false or partly wrong is dated 11.04.2019:

        “Benedikt XVI. macht die “Abwesenheit Gottes” in der Gesellschaft für den Missbrauchsskandal in der Kirche mitverantwortlich.Der Fundamentaltheologe Magnus Striet findet das absurd.” (BXVI sees the absence of God in society as coresponsible for the abuse scandal in the Church. Fundamental thologican Magnus Striet thinks this is absurd)

        So no 24 hours passed, before the – according to own description – official website of the catholic Church in Germany provided someone the opportunity to call BXVI’s words “absurd”.

        And they didn’t stop, 12.04.2019:




        Both very negative.

        Some positive reception of BXVI’s words on the so called official website of the catholic Church in Germany is as far as i found till now totally absent.

        That would be my main issue with Ivereigh’s analysis; he seems to think BXVI aimed at “Red hat report” et al.

        Maybe he did as well and wanted to and hit some people over there; but BXVI’s guns were aimed at and fired against people in Germany inside theological faculties and even inside catholic media (after all, BXVI wrote this text for publication in a German language periodical for priests); and he hit them hard, as visible by them firing back fast and hard.

        What i see as very positive – and actually it should calm some papal critics (somebody should tell them; i will try) – is that if Pope Francis oked that text and fully understood its content, that then Pope Francis oked that the respective people in the catholic Church in Germany get hit by a bullet barely not being a papal one. That could mean that Pope Francis is unwilling to go along all the nonesense these people dream about. Which if true, could theoretically ease suspicions with some people.

      • mig says:

        I missed an especially nice one by the “official site of the catholic Church in Germany”:



        “Der “Papst emeritus” fördert die Spaltung seiner Kirche”

        Pope emiritus furthers the splitting of his Church (or maybe even: Pope emeritus furthers schism in his Church)

        “Der Text des emeritierten Kirchenoberhaupts sei eine Kampfschrift gegen Papst Franziskus.”

        The text of the retired head of the Church is a polemic against Pope Francis.

        Never mind that even in the text there are some positive words about Pope Francis and that therefore whatever BXVI might have intended with the text, he did not intend it to be a polemic against Pope Francis (a polemic would at least include some explicit negative statement about Pope Francis or fake praise being a thin veiled criticism); so even from a purely journalistic point of view this is garbage.

        Wonderful what i am forced to pay for by threat of de facto excommunication (if i would stop paying German Church taxes and would indicate that i am still Catholic but do not pay for other reasons, the Church in Germany would not consider me to be excommunicated, but would formally bar me from receiving the sacraments; hence, de facto excommunication).

        Maybe after having taught US “right wing catholics” about mercy sufficienty Pope Francis could find some time and teach the catholic Church in Germany something about mercy?

        Cause there is no mercy in forcing Catholics to pay for that.

  2. Marie says:

    Is it true that Pope Emerius Benedict XVII’s article, which was published in a Bavarian periodical was also published in several conservative papers, much like Cardinal Mueller’s letter? If so, is that not of concern?

  3. Anne Lastman says:

    Hi Pedro, Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI essay on the sexual abuse crisis in the church being pin pointed to mid 20th century sexual revolution leaves me skeptical. Sexual abuse of children has been with us since time immemorial and to pin point it to a specific time is foolhardy.
    What the sexual revolution did do is to bring to the surface and make visible a disorder which has wounded humanity since the begining.
    The largest percentage of abuse of children occurs in the family and continues from there. Those wounded by authority figures can do nothing but continue the wounds irrespective of work or charism which they do.

    • carn says:

      Various crime rates vary due to circumstances of the time; some crime is always there, but sometimes crime rates rise and sometimes they fall; sometimes one has an idea what circumstances have an effect and sometimes one can only guess.

      Why should sexual abuse of children be exempt from that and not increase or decrease due to some circumstances?

      And why couldn’t a drastic change in society and a widespread attitude, that most/all old rules regarding sexuality to be discarded, not have an effect upon the frequency of sexual abuse of children?

      “The largest percentage of abuse of children occurs in the family and continues from there.”

      And why should the number of such cases be constant over time and not effected by circumstances?

      For example there is quite a risk increase for abuse between biological parents and step-parents; the vast majority of step-parents do not abuse the children; but still step-parents – especially male ones – do commit abuse far more often than biological parents.

      If that is not only a correlation but also some causation, then the increase in divorce rates starting 1950 could have had an increased number of abuses inside families as consequence.

      Only if it had been BXVI’s claim that there wasn’t any sexual abuse of children in the Church prior 1960s, then your argument would hold; but considering that BXVI brought down the founder of the legionaires and therefore was probably aware that he commited abuse alreade 1950, BXVI would be very stupid to claim that abuse started 1960.

      • Anne Lastman says:

        No Carn the vast majority of step parents do not abuse their step children just like a vast majority of biological parents don’t abuse their children but a significant percentage of biological and stepparents (mstly male relatives e.g fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers)actually do. And not forgetting female family members who also abuse both male and female young relatives (aunts, mothers, sisters, grandmothers). All you need to do Carn is contact your police department’s sexual abuse unit to see the number of children temoved ftom homes because of the said abuse.
        I know Carn I have written much, spoken much and counselled much on this issue and about this wound
        A perpetrator priest did not start out life as a perpetrator but somewhere along the line his own innocent and holy sexuality was abused and healing not sought or even seen as necessary. His innocence not validated or honoured and so an imprint of sexual pain is set
        From this time onwards there is a need to make sense of what occurred. The trauma which occurred has a need for resolution.
        We know that trauma has a need for repetition until sense is made

      • Anne Lastman says:

        Ps Carn when a priest acts onthe first impulse ( usually of a child similar to himself at time of abuse) then repetition becomes the norm both because it becomes an addiction and because of a sense of hatred for his behaviour. Self loathing
        And so why stop is the thought.
        That there is eventually wickedness involved is a fact. Its the time when perpetrator gives up on himself and nothing but being discovered matters.

      • carn says:

        As i have written verbatim:

        “the vast majority of step-parents do not abuse the children”

        your text:

        “No Carn the vast majority of step parents do not abuse their step children”

        seems to be based on not understanding what i wrote, as you seem to try to tell me something, which i already stated.

        To reformulate it in detail, so that there is no misunderstanding what i meant regarding that point.

        Both the vast majority of biological parents and of step-parents do not abuse their children.

        But the percentage of abuse is higher among step parents.

        That could in reality look like – i could not find exact numbers on the fly – that maybe 99% of biological parents do not abuse their children and that maybe 97% of step-parents do not abuse their children.

        Then the vast majority of both would not abuse; but the risk for step children would still be significantly higher.

        “Objective: The greater risk of abusing a step-child than a genetically related child has been attributed to discriminative parental solicitude.”

        That research paper treats the greater risk of abuse of step-children as a given fact and tries to identify underlying causes.

        The APA is an old and big psychological research association:


        “APA was founded in July 1892, at Clark University. Its first president was G. Stanley Hall and it began with 31 members. After World War II, it expanded and grew quickly. Today, APA is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with 54 divisions and more than 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.”

        So i am correct and up to date with the knowledge in the field and it would be unlikely that any police department would object the claim that the risk of abuse is larger for step-children, especially from the side of the step-father (see the abstract of the linked paper “Research is needed to explore more proximal causes of the step-father effect.”).

        You understand and agree that nowhere i suggested that any majority of step children get abused and that i only talked about the increase in risk?

        If we agree on that, i do not see how you could object the conclusion that an increase in divorce rates, which likely will increase the number of step-parents, might increase the incidence of abuse.

        “along the line his own innocent and holy sexuality was abused”

        As the sexual revolution was about tearing down all norms, how can you be certain that this also does not increase the chances that some future priest suffers an abuse of his own innocent and holy sexuality?

        I once read a testimony be a woman trying to give an overview of the sins she committed (so to warn others); she grew up in the 60s; apparently for some mass when she was aged 12 to 14 (or was it even first communion, which she received not at age 7 but more age 13 or 14? i do not remember) she and some female friends of the same age made out a contest – the contest was who would go forward with the most enticing cleavage and success was supposedly measured with whom the hand of the (not that old) priest would tremble most/with whom the most sweat would show on the forehead of the priest when giving communion.

        If such a “contest” really had taken place, might it have been a violation of the “innocent and holy sexuality” of that priest?

        Might have been.

        And if that “contest” had taken place, isn’t it a possibility that the mood of the time helped to bring forth such a “contest”?

        I cannot offer evidence; but i am simply aghast that anybody would be totally 100% absolutely certain beyond any glimmer of doubt that the mood of the time had absolutely 0% effect upon the number and/or severity of abuse cases; cause for that one can also not offer evidence.

      • Anne Lastman says:

        Carn i dont have time to respond to your missive I have 11 of those who weren’t abused at home by family members to attend to this pm and early nxt morning.

      • carn says:

        “respond to your missive”

        So after implicitly accusing me to have committed some (in my view rather serious) error, you deem it not necessary to ponder what i have to say about your accusation.

        As such events are not uncommon with those, whom consider Pope Francis a fantastic pope, who is only attacked by those pharisees due to pharisees despise being merciful and looking at individual situations and considering excusing circumstances, i am sometimes really at loss, what these Pope Francis “fans” mean with “mercy”.

        Cause whatever “mercy” might be, i am pretty confident that it should include pondering the defense someone offers against some accusation.

        Accordingly, quite a chunk of “fans” of Pope Francis seem to be very inept at “mercy”.

        (Though of course its their own fault and not that of Pope Francis)

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Sorry guys. I have not been able to moderate the comments with more attention. However I think frustrations from both sides are beginning to sip out in the comments in a not too charitable way. May I suggest that people would focus on this Holy Week we’re living right now instead? God bless

  4. Chris dorf says:

    Another wonderful article was the Vatican article explaining Pope Francis homily for Palm Sunday on triumphalism and how the devil uses that to deceive us …or so I’m paraphrasing

  5. Chris dorf says:

    Also Crux magazine did an article showing how Steve Bannon is attacking many principals that Pope Francis is teaching has the holy Father. That group of people is so emboldened that he even compares Pope Francis to Donald Trump which I find quite amazing as hubris of Steve Bannon

  6. Joaquin Mejia says:

    I think that I had a very difficult time understanding Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s essay on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He talks about so many different things and it is hard to wrap my head around it all. I like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI very much. I think what I need to do is read it more carefully.

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