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Trying Time For Pope

  • April 8th, 2010
  • Posted by 7thmin

pope1.jpgCOMMENTARY: Strife and dismay over sexual abuse of children by “Christian” clergy was concentrated especially at Easter 2010 (2-5.4.10) on the Catholic Church.

That was because of questioning of the Pope as to whether, when he was an Archbishop, one such criminal while under his authority was able to escape prosecution.  

Reasonable outside observers would note the assurances of defenders of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, that the case did not go to the Archbishop.

It would be a fair observation also that the additional response given on the Easter weekend in Rome was at best, the weakest communication management.

For senior clergy at religious gatherings to speak against “gossip” is hardly a sustainable response; it could make matters worse because of keeping the focus on the man himself.

Crimes against children in church settings have occurred across religious denominations; this is not a dilemma only of Catholicism.

Yet today’s confrontation of hierarchy, internal questioning, anxiety and despair, demonstrated in public, is a reminder of  lasting arguments.

Does this a nailing of arguments on the Church door, even invoke  the mood of the past Reformation of the Catholic Church?

Consider again the famous 95 theses of, Martin Luther, (coincidentally a German theologian  like today’s Pope), whose  attack on the abuse of papal indulgences caused bigger debates around his privileging of “grace for the inner man” (article 49).

In part, in today’s context:

“90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the Pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.”


Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (1517); published in Spaeth A. et al (trans. and eds.), Works of Martin Luther, (1915), Philadelphia, Holman, Vol.1, pp. 29-38. See, (8.4.10).