Pope Blames Catholic Sex Scandal on American Society

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Pope Blames Catholic Sex Scandal on American Society

Benedict says U.S. immorality is partly to blame for pedophile priests, and that the church is the answer.

During his recent visit to America, Pope Benedict xvi wasted no time confronting the pedophile sex scandal issue that has estranged American Catholics from the Vatican hierarchy. On the flight from Italy to the United States the pope made a promise to “absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.” It was not until the next day, however, that he got specific as to what he felt was the cause behind the scandal.

Agence France Presse reported:

Pope Benedict xvi has berated U.S. bishops for their poor handling of the child sex scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church, but also laid part of the blame on the breakdown of values in U.S. society.Benedict told a gathering of bishops on Wednesday they had “sometimes very badly handled” the decades-old problem of pedophile priests. But he urged efforts “to address the sin of abuse within the wider context of sexual mores.””What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” the pontiff said on the first full day of his U.S. visit.Instead, he suggested as a remedy an urgent reassessment of “the values underpinning society.”Describing clerics who sexually abuse children as “gravely immoral,” the octogenarian pope warned that the scourge of pedophilia “is found not only in your dioceses but in every sector of society.”

By apologizing for the sexual abuses perpetrated on children by Catholic priests, Benedict is trying to reduce the tension between America and Rome. The financial contribution that American Catholics make to the Vatican coffers annually is huge. Benedict can ill afford to disaffect America’s Catholics by assigning to their culture the total blame for Roman Catholic pedophilia. However, by at least partially assigning the blame for those abuses to the breakdown of American society, Benedict is trying to make the Catholic Church actually look like the solution—not only to child abuse, but to America’s depraved sexual culture in general.

Expect the pope to continue to try to mend the Vatican’s rift with American Catholics as he looks to extend Vatican influence over the singular most important growing segment of the Roman Catholic community within the U.S., the Hispanic immigrants, even as white Anglo-Saxon support for the church in the U.S. continues to dwindle. For more information on the relationship between Rome and its American dioceses, read “The Vatican’s Quandary.”