Grandfather Knows Best: Pope Benedict on Clergy Sexual Abuse, by Ines A. Murzaku

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By Ines A. Murzaku, Crisis Magazine, April 16, 2019

Ines A. MurzakuThe White House announced on March 28 that the month of April is designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on its official website explains: “Every April, child and youth serving organizations, including Catholic dioceses, parishes, and schools, participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month to highlight the importance of protecting minors from abuse.” Billboards along highways communicate the same strong message: protect, safeguard, and raise awareness for the protection and well-being of children.

Well, for us Catholics in view of the greatest crisis of abuse of minors in the Catholic Church, April has some added significance. One cannot help but think about the most recent reflection of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the scandal of sexual abuse in the Church. Why did Benedict choose April to make public his analysis of the crisis? He may have had Child Abuse Prevention Month in mind, or he may be responding to developments on this subject in Germany where the essay was first published. More generally, another question can be posed: why Benedict, and why is the grandfather of the grandfathers, as Pope Francis referred to his predecessor in 2014, choosing now as the time to speak out, when he promised a life of prayer inside the Vatican?

Benedict probably knows of the significance of April for the American Church and the American people. As the Church is still suffering from the sexual abuse scandal which exploded last August, Benedict, as the grandfather of all grandfathers, wants to join his voice to those of all who are fighting abuse. He shows his interest and skill in detecting the problem and offering his old wisdom as an elderly bishop who has, in a unique way, dedicated his life to the Church. After all, the elderly are expected to share the wisdom of their lives, as Pope Francis said in his morning meditation on November 19, 2013:  “the elderly pass on history, doctrine, faith, and they leave them to us as an inheritance. They are like a fine vintage wine; that is, they have within themselves the power to give us this noble inheritance.” This is accurate: the elderly pass on history, doctrine, and faith—and this is exactly what Benedict is doing this April before the Easter season of regeneration. Their lessons are treasures to cherish, preserve, and pass along….Read entire article, go here: