A former pope’s fateful choice: Benedict is pouring salt in old wounds rather than helping the church move forward in combating sexual abuse

New York Daily News

April 17, 2019

By John Gehring

It’s a strange and unhelpful business having more than one pope living at the same time. When Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down in 2013, the first pontiff in six centuries to abdicate his position pledged to “remain hidden to the world.” The humility and grace Benedict showed in making that revolutionary decision to renounce power is now overshadowed by a tone-deaf insistence to weigh in with his opinions, even when those conclusions can be used to undermine Pope Francis.

The “pope emeritus” who still wears white — a title and color that Benedict should stop using to avoid the perception of competing papacies, much as a former police chief or general would take off the uniform when commenting from the sidelines — set off a whirlwind of media coverage and theological head-spinning last week when he weighed in about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

In a lengthy essay for a German church magazine, published in the United States by conservative Catholic web sites that frequently criticize Francis, Benedict points to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the absence of God in public life, and even moral theologians who challenged aspects of the church’s teachings as contributing to clerical abuse.

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