Another straw in the wind? It
may be becoming clear to the media – at least to more open-minded journalists –
that Benedict XVI is the solution, not the problem, to the crisis of sex abuse
in the Church. As Archbishop Vincent Nichols told the BBC
in London, “The pope won’t resign. Frankly,
there’s no strong reason for him to do so. In fact it’s the other way around:
he is the one above all else in Rome who has tackled these things head
In fact, as journalists dig deeper into the
piles of “filth”, which Cardinal
Ratzinger mentioned on Good Friday 2005 shortly before being elected, they
are finding another angle to the sordid story. This is that Cardinal Ratzinger,
as he was then, had been moving within the Vatican to expose and punish
This is the implication of words by
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn to ORF Austrian television on Palm Sunday.
a report in Reuters, he declared that Benedict wanted a full probe when
former Vienna Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer was forced to resign in 1995 for
alleged sexual abuse of a boy. However, other high-ranking members of the
Vatican were said to have persuaded Pope John Paul II that the media had
exaggerated the case and that an inquiry would create more scandal. “He
told me, ‘the other side won’,” Schoenborn said.
Damien Thompson, the London Telegraph’s
religion editor, comments:
… the future Benedict XVI had lost his battle to mount a proper investigation
of a sex abuser Cardinal, instead of the secretive and
inconclusive one that apparently took place. No wonder he demanded full
authority to investigate these cases and assumed greater responsibility for
them in 2001.
He’s facing a terrible situation, no doubt about
it; and no doubt also he made mistakes himself: the fact that he was far more
vigilant than other cardinals doesn’t mean he was vigilant enough. But history
will show that it was Benedict XVI, not John Paul II, who initiated the
“purification” of the Church to remove its “filth” – his words, and uttered
long before this current crisis arose.