German theologians blast Benedict’s letter as ‘failed and improper’ account of abuse crisis

National Catholic Reporter

April 16, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict XVI’s recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it “instrumentalized” the Catholic church’s continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes.

In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.

“The analysis of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is based on a number of false assumptions,” said the German Association of Moral Theologians, which represents about 40 prominent academics. “It is assessed by us as a failed and improper contribution to the resolution of the abuse crisis.”

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