Also on Nov. 20, the depth of the pope’s grief over the abuse crisis, and the complexity of its causes and of the response to it, came to light when the Vatican newspaper published excerpts from journalist Peter Seewald’s book-length interview, “Light of the World.”Read more, including comments from Cardinals Levada and Burke.
Seewald asked: “It is not only the abuse that is upsetting, it is also the way of dealing with it. The deeds themselves were hushed up and kept secret for decades. That is a declaration of bankruptcy for an institution that has love written on its banner.”
The pope replied: “The Archbishop of Dublin told me something very interesting about that. He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950s; admittedly it was not perfect –there is much to criticize about it – but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid-1960s, however, it was simply not applied any more. The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather, a Church of love; she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people.
“Today we have to learn all over again that love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner in the form that is possible and appropriate.”
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
From Rome, new words on the clergy abuse crisis
Catholic San Francisco reports on the Vatican reforms regarding the handling of abusive clergy. Also coming up for comment are the comments that Pope Benedict XVI made in Light of the World regarding the abuse crisis and the response to it: