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Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for church abuse scandals?

An escalating scandal over clerical sexual abuse in Europe is heightening calls for greater transparency in the Vatican and a zero-tolerance policy toward abusive priests that would mirror the approach adopted by the U.S. Catholic Church. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  March 26, 2010; 8:27 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Not sure who runs the large complex organization referred to as the Catholic Church. Looks like a bunch of very old men not really with the program. What the church does know for sure is, they have always been off limits. Even Hitler left them alone.

Posted by: dangreen3 | March 26, 2010 10:05 AM

From all indications and newspaper articles I have read one can answer YES, he is guilty.
But I cannot say that. Call me a doubting Thomas who has sinned and cannot throw the first stone, I need more information,,

Posted by: Iggnacious | March 26, 2010 10:16 AM

Pedophilia is an indefensible act. What is different about the current outcry is the emphasis and effort to link the abuse to the Pope. The criticism is not targeted at the office of the Pope, but to specific decisions this Pope has made throughout his career with the church.

There is some concern that the efforts to link the Pope to the actions of priests over the past 30 years is politically motivated and targeted in an effort to silence his campaign against inequality. This Pope has been particularly critical of the distribution of wealth and the plight of the poor in Europe and around the world. The “Davos” annual gathering of the rich, has received more media attention in Europe and Europe is more sensitive to the accusations of a new “aristocracy”. The Pope has been very vocal about the extreme disparity in wealth around the world and the view that God may take towards these inequalities.

When the combined wealth of 385 richest individuals exceeds the combined wealth of 2.3 Billion of the worlds poorest, the Pope has questioned how God would judge a world where this degree of inequality exists. He has made statements asking “how many houses can one person live in?”; “how much wealth does one person need when they could spend $1,000,000 and hour for the rest of their lives and never run out of money?” It is these comments that may be at the root of the direct attacks on the Pope and not the handling of pedophilia. The timing is questionable because the abuse accusations have been around for 50 years or more and previous incidents were handled locally resulting in cash payouts to the victims. The handling was not the ideal but until recently it was perfectly acceptable in the media and by the authorities.

Posted by: NewThoughts | March 26, 2010 10:26 AM

Since the Pope has been involved with this issue and has made numerous bad decisions on it, it is entirely fair to hold him responsible.

Newthoughts' argument sounds like the absurd machinations of a denial-complex. In the world of facts, there is no reason to believe that anything sinister or conspiratorial is going on. People are simply finding out new and horrible details about the Church's leniency towards its serial pedophiles and they are reacting as they should, with outrage.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | March 26, 2010 10:34 AM

It is telling that any priest who was recently found to be embezzling cash or "helping himself" to the collection plate has been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, whether the amount taken was $50,000 or $500,000. When it comes to pedophiles, the church was not only willing to turn a blind eye, the leaders proactively covered up crimes, moved priests, and continued to deny, deny, deny. Visit snapnetwork.org or google bishop accountability to read the facts. Very sad.

Posted by: readerny | March 26, 2010 10:43 AM

Is the Pope responsible? Fair question I suppose.

Who is the muslim to hold responsible for their atrocities all over the world?

Can we wait for Ramadan or Eid to have that discussion?

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | March 26, 2010 12:10 PM

Priests have been violating children for decades, and the church as an organization has covered it up. The world is a different place now, and technology and education have created audiences with more courage to defend themselves and their children.

If you've ever been to the Vatican, your stomach would churn at the church's wealth. And, yet, week after week, they ask for cash...special collection after special collection.

Not only do priests violate children, they also use that collection money to buy condos, luxury automobiles and to take pricey vacations. Being a priest is a good gig.

Not too long ago, a priest in a Chicago suburb was found guilty of helping himself to roughly a million dollars of parish funds for his personal comfort (His girlfriend blew the whistle on him when he wouldn't resign to marry her...she got tired of waiting.)

The pedophiles aren't the only problem the church has...blowing the organization open would do them a world of good. They should also spend a little of their followers' hard earned cash to help solve issues related to AIDS, famine, world-wide poverty....

Jesus was a humble man. From all historical accounts, he didn't wear elaborate vestments, jewelry, crowns. He didn't lead a lavish lifestyle of privilege. Modern popes do. Modern bishops do.

Give it up, boys. Practice what you preach and perhaps fewer Catholics will bail out.

Posted by: renewableone | March 26, 2010 12:33 PM

Pedophilia has been in existence in the "Catholic" church forever. But from a purely physiologic perspective, remove someones ability to answer one of the strongest "drives" in people , right up there with eating, seeking shelter etc and see how long it takes for anyone to become a pervert. And a BIG YES to the head dude being responsible. They all are. But you have to cover up the bad or you might not get more money to hide at the Vatican! It probably conatins enough riches behind those locked doors to solve all the financial problems of the planet. So if you admit many of you are sick old perverts ,then the pennies will stop rolling in won't they?

Posted by: Hables | March 26, 2010 12:37 PM

VIRGINIACONSERVATIVE's belief in collective guilt of Muslims shows the failure of thought that is typical of conservatives in the post-Buckly, post-rationality tea-party era.

The "muslim to hold responsible for their atrocities all over the world" are the Muslims who actually commit atrocities-- not some figurehead.

Ratzinger/Benedict is not being called to account because he is a figurehead. He is being called to account because these documents show that the current Ratzinger/ Benedict appears to have been the enabler of decades of criminal sex abuse. He appears to have knowingly allowed known pedophiles to evade responsibility and commit further crimes.

If he is held accountable it is NOT because he is the leader of the Catholic Church, but because it appears he took actions that caused atrocities toward untold thousands of children. Do you see the difference?

In the case of Muslims, we apply the same test. Any individual Muslim who commits an atrocity should be punished. Like we could have punished Bin Laden if Bush and Rumsfeld did not let him get away:

Here is the official reports of the Bush's massive failure to get Bin Laden from the official report by the joint committee of both Republicans and Democrats:

http://foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Tora_Bora_Report.pdf

Henry Crumpton, the head of special operations for the CIA’s counterterrorism operation and chief of its Afghan strategy, "went to the White House to brief President Bush and Vice President Cheney and repeated the message that he had delivered to Franks. Crumpton warned the president that the Afghan campaign’s primary goal of capturing bin Laden was in jeopardy because of the military’s reliance on Afghan
militias at Tora Bora.

‘‘we’re going to lose our prey if we’re not careful.’’ He recommended that the Marines or other U.S. troops be rushed to Tora Bora.
‘‘How bad off are these Afghani forces, really?’’ asked Bush. ‘‘Are they up to the job?
‘‘Definitely not, Mr. President,’’ Crumpton replied. ‘‘Definitely not.’’

Just like Ratzinger/Benedict looked the other way from pedophile priests, Bush looked the other other way from getting bin Laden, asking Tommy Franks to focus on Iraq before getting Bin Laden.

So that's why that particular Muslim was never held responsible. Because of another of the many failures of the Republicans.

Posted by: wpforumtroll | March 26, 2010 12:57 PM

look at that face. do you honestly think that's the face of an honest and honorable man.

ratzinger -- the protector of pedophiles.

Posted by: mycomment | March 26, 2010 1:02 PM

@WPForumTroll: You aren't living up to your name too well there... ;-)

Excellent response though, on both halves of VirginiaConservative's question.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | March 26, 2010 1:37 PM

Thank you, Big Brother1, and may I return the compliment on how you are similarly not living up to your absolutely non-ironic name.

I can see that after the BIG WIN on health care, the momentum is finally turning towards progress and accountability. The Right's hostility and mental failures (see above) are going to turn off voters in November.

Posted by: wpforumtroll | March 26, 2010 1:51 PM

Sexual abuse by priests was apparent and became a growing scandal in the United States over 10 years ago. If Church leaders including the current Pope had a shred of moral decency or backbone, they would have dealt with the problem in Europe pro-actively instead of sitting on it all this time.

What were they thinking? They were perfectly aware that the Church was as corrupt with sexually abusive priests in Europe. I thank God I'm not a Catholic.

Posted by: dstop4 | March 26, 2010 2:00 PM

I wish most pope sympathizers would remember that "it is better to remain quiet and have people think you are an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm it!" How can you defend those who violate children…

THE POPE IS GUILTY...literally & figuratively!!!

Even if he just found out today, why hasn't he come out as St. Peter's descendent and defended those children by demanding anyone within sniffing distance of child abuse be brought up on criminal charges.

Jesus turned himself into the authorities when confronted in the garden. That's the point that pope defenders are missing! He's not a leader nor a man of his convictions. This is why the courts charge people with accessory as it relates to crime because those on the peripheral are often just as bad or worse than the actual perpetrators.
Let’s see here, genocide, slavery, pedophilia, grand larceny, rape, mental abuse, fraud, suppression of women’s rights…the list is endless in terms of the crimes that the catholic church has perpetrated upon the world since 1 AD.

Posted by: Jigsaw | March 26, 2010 2:10 PM

Yes, the catholic church either directly or indirectly committed or helped facilitate those crimes...reading is fundemental!

Posted by: Jigsaw | March 26, 2010 2:12 PM

If you could point to a fair share of incidents and say 'look, when they knew about it, they took acceptable actions. (Meaning prison terms for child rapists.) But, in this one case, they screwed up!' Then, I would say 'okay, management is trying...'

But, that's not what we are seeing. The church always covers it up. It is hard to not see a pattern there.

The church will continue it's path to irrelevance if it doesn't start to behave in an acceptable manner. People don't like 'do what I say, not what I do.' Especially, when discussing molesting children. It is not acceptable in any way, I don't care if the rules say a man in perfect.

This is just disgusting, that it is even debated. The man should be in jail! Ugh.

Posted by: rat-raceparent | March 26, 2010 2:26 PM

The evidence clearly points to the fact that before he became pope Cardinal Ratzinger was guilty of colluding to prevent the sex abuse scandal from becoming public. This included a directive to keep the proceedings secret under threat of excommunication, moving around pedophile priests from parish to parish, refusing to heavily sanction such priests, and either ignoring or forcing gag agreements on the victims. The NY Times published documents that demonstrate and prove this. What more needs to be known for heaven's sake?!

Posted by: AJBF | March 26, 2010 2:34 PM

Good news, everybody! The Pope has forgiven the molested children:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/pope-forgives-molested-children,101/

Posted by: wpforumtroll | March 27, 2010 8:25 PM

The Pope has shown that he is, in fact, fallible. The Catholic Church has become a political organization. It should have been obvious before, given that Vatican City has a its own police force, its own laws, etc. No longer is the Catholicism simply a religion. It's a political party, complete with scandals.

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