Expert says former pope's letter may have been unwise

Mark Abrams
April 11, 2019 - 5:00 pm
ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 28: Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims, for the last time as head of the Catholic Church, from the window of Castel Gandolfo where he will start his retirement today on February 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy.

Franco Origlia /Stringer/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newradio) -- A Villanova University theology professor says the former pope's decision to weigh in on the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse crisis may have been unwise.

Massimo Faggioli, who is also a respected Vatican watcher, says the move by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to publish a lengthy letter in selected circles concerning the abuse crisis is likely to cause confusion among Catholics.

Faggioli warns it may have damaged the relationship between Benedict and his successor, Pope Francis.

"This relationship works only if the pope emeritus does not intervene and interfere with very delicate issues with interventions that cause more confusion than anything else," he said.

Benedict wrote that the sexual revolution of the 1960s corrupted the culture and seminaries where future priests and bishops were studying and led to a rise in homosexuality among the clergy and a corruption of moral theology in the church.

Faggioli criticizes Benedict for his own failure to fully address the crisis.

However, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, in a posting on the conservative religious site "First Things," praises Benedict's intervention now and salutes him for having the courage to speak the truth.

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