Benedict’s Mea Culpa

Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the letter of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI regarding the allegations that he mishandled clergy sexual abuse when he was the Archbishop of Munich.

“The point isn’t that abuse victims should see him as a champion. The point isn’t that we ought to overlook his failings (remember how poorly he handled the McCarrick case?). The point is that he has pulled the Church in the right direction when it comes to clerical sexual abuse for longer and in more meaningful ways than perhaps anyone else.

“The Church and those who have been wounded by the Church can acknowledge this without being satisfied. In truth, it is worth acknowledging that there is nothing the Church can say or do, no apology she can give, no justice she can mete out, that will satisfy.”

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*Image: Benedict XVI at Munich Airport in June of 2020. The Pope Emeritus had visited Germany to visit his ailing elder brother, Georg. (Sven Hoppe/Pool via Reuters)