"The world knows that Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the billion-member Roman Catholic church, has a horrible problem of child sex abuse in his church, especially in North America and Australia. Now a surge of alleged abuse cases in Europe, including almost 500 in tiny Belgium alone, shows that the problem is far more widespread than originally believed, reaching right into the papacy itself. Along with other bishops, Benedict was complicit earlier in tolerating and covering up the crimes of the priests. "
"That case involving Ratzinger was not a matter of sexual fondling or touching, as the abuses by priests are often described. This was a terrible assault on the child. The alleged victim, now an adult, said in an interview that the priest gave him alcohol, locked him in his bedroom, took off his clothes and forced him to perform oral sex. He was 11 years old. Any priest now credibly accused of such conduct should be defrocked, stripped of his priestly functions. Could any bishop who kept such a priest in the ministry be seriously considered as a credible candidate for pope?"
"...The pope could initiate this change by resigning from the papacy and calling for the resignation of all the other bishops, like him, who were complicit in the abuse scandal. (In Ireland, the archbishop of Dublin proposed such action, and five bishops offered to resign.) Other popes have quit. In centuries past nine of the 265 Roman Catholic popes have resigned or been forced out of office for the good of the church. The most recent was Gregory XII who abdicated in 1417 to help settle the claims of three competitors for the papacy."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Excellent argument for Pope Benedict's resignations and for holding Vatican and hierarchy accountable. It is time for Vatican 111, a worldwide Council of the People of God, for a people-empowered church, for married priests, women priests and for a top-down reform of all structures in the church. It is time that the Roman Catholic Church follows the example of Jesus who calls us to live as equals and partners in an inclusive community of faith.