Pope Benedict:Church ‘suffers persecution through its own sins’
15 May 2010
Pope Benedict XVI has called the clergy sex-abuse crisis a “really terrifying” reminder that the “greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside, but is born from sin within the Church”.
He made the comments on Tuesday to journalists who were flying with him to Lisbon as he embarked on a four-day pastoral visit to Portugal. They were in response to a specific question about whether the current abuse crisis could be interpreted in light of Our Lady of Fátima’s message that the Church would have to suffer.
“In terms of what we today can discover in this message, attacks against the Pope or the Church do not only come from outside; rather the sufferings of the Church come from within, from the sins that exist in the Church,” he said on the papal plane.
“The Church therefore has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the need for justice,” he continued. But he stressed that “forgiveness is not a substitute for justice”. He said: “In a word, we have to re-learn these essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues [of faith, hope and charity].” the rest
The Cost of Father Maciel
For either purpose, a figure such as Cardinal Sodano has to be removed from his current position and told to serve the Church in prayer. Everyone inside the Church needs to be taught that there are consequences for scandalous mistakes. And, for the outside world, Catholicism needs a story to tell, a narrative that can convey the simple truth: Despite the sins of its members, the Church remains what it has been—a light in dark places, a force of charity for the weak and the poor, and a hope for humankind on its way to the saving truth that is God.