John L Allen (NCR): Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI's history on the sex abuse crisis. Revelations from Germany have put his five years as a diocesan bishop under a spotlight, and a piece on Thursday in The New York Times, on the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee, also called into question his Vatican years as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Despite complaints in some quarters that all this is about wounding the pope and/or the church, raising these questions is entirely legitimate. Anyone involved in church leadership at the most senior levels for as long as Benedict XVI inevitably bears some responsibility for the present mess. My newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, today called editorially for full disclosure [1] about the pope's record, and it now seems abundantly clear that only such transparency can resolve the hard questions facing Benedict.

Yet as always, the first casualty of any crisis is perspective. There are at least three aspects of Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis which are being misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized, in today's discussion. Bringing clarity to these points is not a matter of excusing the pope, but rather of trying to understand accurately how we got where we are.

The following, therefore, are three footnotes to understanding Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

Posted March 27, 2010 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Dan Crawford wrote:

One can’t help but feel that Benedict’s predecessor, the one called “the Great”, has to bear some responsibility for this horrid mess. His enthusiastic embrace (and protection) of the founder of the Legionnaires deserves some scrutiny.

March 27, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
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