The Big Ideas of 2008

Holy Betrayal

Pope Benedict's silence on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is a betrayal to both justice and Jesus.

Dear Mr. Josef Ratzinger:

You are the Pope now and according to La Civilta Cattolica you are the "upholder of justice, and the protector of the oppressed."

As leader of your institution, what you are doing to bring the serial molesters in your churches to justice? What are you doing to protect their victims?

What justice will you impose on Marcial Maciel Degollado offered his young seminarians absolution for their youthful sins, and claimed to possess a papal dispensation for his sordid sex games? His victims wrote to you and begged you to act. What comfort will you offer them?

Your silence betrays them and betrays Jesus, who said, "Be as a child."

What justice will you recommend for the 63 pedophile priests and Cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and John Krol in Philadelphia? What justice for those under your direction who covered up the crimes, and moved the molesters from parish to parish, to stalk new victims?

When Cardinal Bernard Law could not longer hide the pedophiles in his Boston archdiocese, you anointed him as archpriest at St. Mary Major Basilica in the Vatican. Is this your justice? What would dear Mary say? What will you do for the wounded casualties?

How will you compensate the victims of the Rev. Bruce Ritter in New York, military chaplain Robert Peebles in Texas, Archbishop Juliusz Paetz in Poland, Bishop Franziskus Eisenbach in Germany, and victims of sodomy rings run by the Christian Brothers in Canada and Australia?

Mr. Ratzinger, your flock awaits divine justice. You said you talked to God and he told you that people shouldn't wear condoms when having sex. What did he say about your priests, bishops and Cardinals who have abused millions of innocents worldwide? Did God suggest recompense to the casualties? What justice for the perpetrators? What justice for those who covered up the crimes? What justice for you, who sits at the head of this ring of institutionalized child abuse?

You haven't said a word to comfort these victims, and your silence erodes the faith of your flock. Can you imagine the embarrassment to your faithful priests whose vocation is devastated? Will you apologize to the honest Catholics whose religion has been mocked? Can you see how these crimes tarnish the name of Jesus for all Christian believers? Are you not aware of the horror of every single human whose sense of common decency is shattered by these crimes?

Humanity longs for a spirituality of justice and common decency. Jesus healed people, shared food, comforted the poor and gave hope to society's outcasts. This is spirituality in practice. Justice here and now. This is the spirituality of Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Buddha and Aung San Suu Kyi. What can you offer the suffering of this world that truly honors the example of Jesus?

42 comments on the article “Holy Betrayal”

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I am Christian, born and raised in America's heartland. I am not Catholic, or Lutheran, or Methodist, or any such denomination. Just Christian. I thank the author of this article for posting it. The fact is no one is perfect, but this does not offer a chance for people to commit such sick acts as these. I hope that all the atheists and anyone who is pointing their plastic finger realize this. It isn't the institution that is out of touch, it's the usurpers who warp it and give it a bad name. All of this aside, these men need to be punished. It doesnt matter if these men are the head of all Catholicism. They are not above the law.


The discussion, while necessary is both heartbreaking and frustrating. The Holy Father is one of God's greatest instruments for unholding justice. The cries of anguish of these victims breaks my heart. But the posts that put down Christianity the Church of God are also quite sad. Do not reject Christ and his church because of the sins of these priests. People use these awful sins as a excuse for pushing a God they already reject even further away. It is so sad to me that people think Catholics justify these actions when we do not. Gos is a righteous judge and He will make all this pain and suffering right, that is my firm hope. These preists are sinners but then again so I am. Let she who is without sins cast the first stone.


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