15
Mar
10

On air: Should the Pope resign?

It’s a question that doesn’t get asked in the Catholic Church (and it’s been a very long time since it last happened) – after all, Catholics believe the office is infallible.

But it’s now being contemplated because of growing outrage over various sex abuse scandals covered up by the church.

Ireland, the Netherlands and Austria have all been facing their own stories of abuse by clergy.

Most damagingly for Benedict XVI, his home country of Germany is dealing with the revelation that an abusive priest was allowed to abuse again, while Benedict was his boss as Archbishop of Munich.

But the Vatican claims he’s being smeared and, as he prepares to release a public letter to Catholics to address the issue, the Pope still has vehement supporters.

Is a letter enough? Should he step down? Or is he being made a scapegoat for what’s happened?

Update to the Blog, Robert Chesal from Radio Netherlands Worldwide is a guest on our programme and has been talking about the Child Abuse scandal in the Netherlands. If you want to know more here are his articles


169 Responses to “On air: Should the Pope resign?”


  1. 1 Amara in Nigeria
    March 15, 2010 at 12:13

    ”Anyone who takes this honor unto himself must be called just as Aaron was.HEB.3….”The Pope should resign if he’s been found guilty of this scandalous act.Nevertheless,those other catholic priests who have been sexually abusing young girls should be prosecuted and sent packing.They don’t deserve to be ambassadors of Christ.I have this strong belief that they weren’t called by God for this noble work.this has been made evident by their act.”SHAME ON YOU PRIESTS”

    • 2 dan
      March 15, 2010 at 18:51

      true talk any on who sexually abuse little kids should be prosecuted expecially if the are called prists, pastors or men of God. they betray the confidence society places on them

      • 3 bernadette
        March 15, 2010 at 19:45

        Faith in the Church? Why is there no distinction made between faith in Catholic theology and the Church as an organisation? I spent 10 years in a catholic girls’ boarding school and endured appalling abuse at the hands of Irish nuns. I lost my faith and all respect for the Church as an organisation at a very early age for this very reason. My belief in the theological philosophy behind the teachings of the Church is a completely different thing and is not affected by my disgust with an organisation which allows such crimes to happen. Large-scale cover-ups do not surprise me at all.

        As a Catholic, I welcome this crisis in the Church. Let us not distract our energy by focussing on whether the current Pope should resign or not. Let us rather go straight to the heart of the matter: celibacy and a male-only priesthood. Open the priesthood up to women, end celibacy and employ the best theologians to interpretet the wealth of teachings that the Catholic Church would have to offer.

  2. March 15, 2010 at 12:26

    Amara ~ Actually. priests have a predilection for boys and it is a much debated question that some scholars believe and suggest that 50% of priest are in fact gay. So strangely enough priest are doing a very grave disservice to the God fearing gay community.

    Regards,

  3. 5 Cheshire Pete
    March 15, 2010 at 12:36

    I don’t think the Pope can resign, as he has theoretically been chosen by God.

    However, that does not mean that he should accept responsibility, and atone.
    I would suspect that celibacy is at the root of the problem. It’s not natural. and it is therefore probably only acceptable to unusual people. Some, however, are a bit too unusual.

    All organisational problems are seldom one offs, and usually form a part of a cluster. There are a great many things wrong with my family Church. The Pope, and his fellow managers really need to make root and branch changes to all areas of ecumenical law which are man made, and not definite and unequivocal requirements of the Lord. Ending discrimination, and the distribution of power downwards being amongst the most urgent.

  4. 6 Craig
    March 15, 2010 at 12:41

    Why would his resignation make any difference? It would not stop what happened in previous decades. has he intoduced rules which make it more likely that abuse would happen? Rather than resign, maybe he just needs to get on with doing something about preventing this happening again.

  5. March 15, 2010 at 12:45

    It is indeed a philosophical question, like saying a Catholic can ‘stop’ being a Catholic. Shame really. It would be nice to have a nice decent, unblemished, forgiving soul at the ‘top’.

    Regards,

  6. 8 Nigel
    March 15, 2010 at 12:45

    As a non-Catholic, this Pope has not inspired me in absolute terms or in comparative terms taken against his predecessor. This current scandal adds a tangibile dimension to the matter and he should move or be moved.

  7. March 15, 2010 at 12:47

    telling the pope to resign is handling the sex scandal in catholic church with superficiality,whether he resigns or not more priest will continue molesting young boys. the only solution is allowing the priest to marry or otherwise we shall keep on talking about the sex scandal without any solution. i think the pope should stop his handline and conservative position of celibacy and legalise priest marrying.why is it its only the catholic church which has not realised celibacy is for the few chosen one’s?

  8. 10 patti in cape coral
    March 15, 2010 at 12:48

    The catholic church’s reputation is so soiled, I don’t think it much matters if the pope resigns at this point. The church is so politicized, the pope, the priests, the archbishops, etc., are all politicians, and you can never truly trust a politician.

  9. 11 alan loughlin
    March 15, 2010 at 13:28

    what i want to know, and nobody seems to have the answer, is why these priests and others are not behind bars, if i did this to a child quite rightly i would spend many years in jail. they seem to think it is their god given right to abuse children at will, the heirarchy are no better, recently o’connor was promoted for knowingly moving on abusing priests, and then bribing witnesses and victims to keep quiet, he should be behind bars, liken it to the thief and the receiver of stolen goods, both are culpable, no receiver, no thief, it is simple. in my opinion both him and the pope are just as guilty as the abusing priests, no better than paedophiles the lot of them, and still people follow their teachings, it is incredible, all should go, a world without religion would be a far safer and better place to live.

  10. 12 Paul Eyo.NIGERIA CALABAR.
    March 15, 2010 at 13:29

    What the pope did is not femous also not mythical to the world of today.i think he should fast for 40 days and 40 night and beg almighty God for forgiveness since there will be judgement at God’s judgement day at last.to resign is not the key but to repent from sin is the answer.

  11. 13 Linda from Italy
    March 15, 2010 at 13:37

    Afraid I don’t buy the argument that child sex abuse happens because the celibacy rule means there is no other sexual outlet for Catholic priests.
    People who abuse children are psychologically unsound and allowing them to marry would not remove that dangerous proclivity. However, I suspect the celibacy rule actually does play a role because it removes the need for such men to develop a normal adult sexual relationship, they are attracted to the priesthood by their very inadequacy, and the position of power and trust they hold, or at least once held, that is so much more than a mere lay civil office, has until recently, created a climate of impunity.

  12. 14 Cabe UK
    March 15, 2010 at 13:38

    There’s no point – Nostradamus said he would be the last one anyway🙂 ???

    Considering the controvesy the Church has had since WW2 it wouldn’t be surprising if he was the last one.!!! They should have picked younger popes over the last 50 years. Ones that were not politically motivated and could clean up their house a bit. –
    … I’m Catholic but a bit of a naughty one! I’m rude, unforgiving and shout at Got a lot – but I could never understand why we have ‘Gay’ Priests? – and regardless of who does what with their celibacy, if you are going to be ‘celibate’ they why announce to the world that you are Gay? … isn’t that like a kind of an “I’m available” type of advert?….

  13. 15 Dennis Junior
    March 15, 2010 at 13:43

    Is a letter enough?

    no, the letter is not enough and, saw the letter and, its looks like it was to paciffy the audience in the catholic church….

    (Dennis Junior)

  14. 16 Subhash C Mehta
    March 15, 2010 at 13:47

    Yes; the Pope should resign in protest against the wrong-doings of the Catholic clergy, and as a mark of respect for the Church, and as a leader of the faith followed by millions around the world. And, he may stage a come back (if invited to do so) only after effective/drastic and revolutionary measures are taken and the prestige of the institution and confidence of its followers are restored.

  15. 17 audre
    March 15, 2010 at 13:57

    Does it really matter, if the Pope resigns? He would be replaced by the same political machinery. The church is flawed, period!

    What does matter is the exposure of all that is rotten in religion. People need to know that humans leading humans harks back to the time of the cavemen, when muscle was needed for protection.

    Let’s break out of the cave!

    • 18 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 23:28

      True, it will not make any difference until the whole Roman Catholic Church itself is dissolved. Let the faithful christians rediscover first hand their faith from the Bible and by following teachings of Christ. Roman Catholicism and the Pope have behaved like the Anti-Christ and must be discarded.

      The adjectives describing the abuses are frightening. They have been global, rampant and going on for over 80 years -then how could it be unknown to any priest or pope? It was just an open secret! They clerics are not just abusers but are also liars.

      If the Pope who is the head of a large institution like the RC Church -claims that he did not know about the rampant abuses- then he has been irresponsible and ignorant of the the most common happenings in his own backyard and that itself should be considered a severe charge.

  16. 19 gary indiana
    March 15, 2010 at 13:58

    Those folks suggesting priests should be allowed to marry are correct. Celibacy is an unnatural condition in nature and by all accounts an increasingly uncommon occurrence amongst priests also. As for Pope Benedict XVI, his efforts to contain the scandal aren’t much different or more effective than those of his predecessor. Should he go? Well, the decline in adherents to the church certainly suggests changes are needed; but a name change at the top isn’t likely enough of a change to matter. Catholicism, as do other Christian denominations (and Islam as well), needs to sort almost every aspect of its teachings about “sex,” including equalizing status, roles and responsibilities for women.
    g

    • 20 Meeta Rani
      March 22, 2010 at 18:14

      @gary indiana

      It is true that celibacy is un-natural and is probably the cause of loss of moral balance among the clergy.

      It is interesting that upto 50% of clergy are gay. That is about the percentage of women in a balanced society. So half the men in the church replaced the women.

  17. 21 Mwebaze in Uganda
    March 15, 2010 at 14:15

    I think it is not right to start mummering over when, how and should the roman pontif resign.

    The church like anyother organisation or institution is run by human beings, and as the bible says,”ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD”. So all have sinned, even the pope is a sinner as he says in many of the catholic prayers,”…..forgve us our sins” NOT,”………forgive them their sins”.
    Let us just pray for the pope, remembering that the closer e are to God the closer the devil is trying to stray us from the right path.

    and the infalibility of the pope is on matters of doctrine that you should know.

    As the bible says,”…..LET HE THAT IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE”

  18. 22 Jaime Saldarriaga
    March 15, 2010 at 14:18

    It is not up to me to judge Pope´s whay he did or did not a long time agoo. I do not even have the knowledge to make such judgement.

  19. 23 Mike in Seattle
    March 15, 2010 at 14:21

    I have a more practical solution:

    If the Catholic Church were to stop spending so much time telling us how evil homosexuality and condoms are, maybe they could divert that energy into making sure their own agents weren’t abusing children.

    Wasn’t there something in the bible about addressing one’s own flaws before preaching on the flaws of others?

    I don’t know, maybe a priest can help me with that.

  20. March 15, 2010 at 14:24

    This latest scandal simply underscores the reality the Vatican has lost all sense of moral authority. Whether one looks at issues surrounding homosexuality, contraception, HIV prevention or pedophilia (and their attempts to cover it up,) among others, one can easily see the Roman Catholic hierarchy is woefully out of touch and desperate to maintain its skewed sense of power.

  21. 25 Tamatoa, from Zurich
    March 15, 2010 at 14:32

    I’m not sure what I would do. But I’m tending towards letting him stay.

    The Catholic Church is a global religion. Many people are inspired by its scriptures. The pope is the link to God and a symbol for the church. It’s clear that childmolestres belong in prison. But I’m also thinking of all the faithful Catholics and their families. If the world “forces” the pope to retire, they would destroy the most Holy Thing on earth of a religion. It would destroy the religion. This could lead to many personal religious crisis for individuals and their families all over the planet. I think the aftermath would be too big and destabilizing. I think it would be wiser to leave the pope alone, so that the religion can stay intact or functional.

    I would leave the pope alone but go after every priest, cardinal etc. The church itself is falling apart in front of our eyes. I would let Catholics gradually discover the current state of their faith on their own
    .
    And after all, we still have religious freedom. If they want to have a leader who seems to be involved in criminal activities, it’s very difficult to interfere.

    • 26 Meeta Rani
      March 22, 2010 at 18:53

      @Tamatoa, from Zurich

      Nothing is greater than truth! If the truth is that the earth revolves around the Sun then we have to honor the truth. Crisis is a good thing if it helps you to accept the truth.

  22. 27 Zita
    March 15, 2010 at 14:32

    No one will condone the horrible sex offences by priests of the Catholic Church. As far as I can remember, the infalibility of the Pope is in his pronouncements on Faith and Morals. So there you are- Morals! But when a member of the church which a priest is, commits a crime or sin as it will be called in the Church, it is that priest who has to bear primary responsibility. The pope has not committed it. It is his minister and he will answer to his immediate superior and that person will take action to punish him. Of course nothing can make it go away for the victim. Then I think the pope should look hard at the rules he has made and as we know some rules made in good faith at one time are proved to be unwise in later years. So now the chance is there for him to ammend the law in the light of happenings over many years. His resignation will bring further chaos to the running of the Catholic Church. He is not guided by laws of the country or politics. He is not a political appointee. My view, punish the priests, take measures to prevent it happening in the future and hopefully the College of Bishops will make representations to get the law of celibacy scrapped. Wishful thinking? Let’s wait and see.

  23. 28 neil
    March 15, 2010 at 14:39

    The Pope will not resign and anyway resignation is no longer seen as acceptance of responsibility. However legal recourse on the part of victims, particularly in the US and potentially elsewhere, has become the modern substitute for resignation and will cost the Catholic Church significant sums now and in future although has little benefit to those directly affected.

    If such litigation also considered the Church’s officers guilty as individuals then some final justie may be seen by them being sued personally and having to defend themselves in a terrestrail court under oath.

  24. 29 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    March 15, 2010 at 14:43

    “Only God can end my reign”
    – Pope John Paul II

    For heavens sake, our Pope is infallible ……. and it is not going to be decided on the BBC World Have your Say – as respected as your Programme is – whether or not he should resign!

    What has happened is horrendous and everyone including ‘lapsed’ and ‘occassional’ Catholics (the Easter, Christmas, Wedding and Funeral lot) are open to bash the Catholic Church.

    But no atheists, agnostics, non-believers, Catholic-bashers, hypocrits or people who follow other religions / cults are going to decide for me something they are not expert on.

    Only OUR God gives you the other cheek to slap all the time. You got an axe to grind? I suggest you use it to crack all those skeletons you are hiding in your own cupboard ……. there is blood seeping under the door!

    • 30 Mike in Seattle
      March 15, 2010 at 17:00

      You don’t have to be a believer to be angry over the abuse of children. Don’t conflate criticism of the actions of priests with criticism of Catholic beliefs.

  25. 31 Parry
    March 15, 2010 at 14:45

    Why should the Pope resign? Did he give a go ahead for all the crimes committed by those freek so called men of GOD? Its like punishing the father of a criminal. Such so called men of GOD who live on the offerings of unsuspected believers should be hanged in public for these heinous crimes.

  26. 32 Allan-Houston, Texas
    March 15, 2010 at 14:49

    Why should the pope step down? They’d just get out the white smoke and elect another one.

  27. 33 tony Mugwe
    March 15, 2010 at 15:01

    YES !
    THE POPE CAN RESIGN, WHY NOT?, AM A CHRISTIAN AND A BELIEVER BUT OUR BIBLE HASNT CREATED A DEMI-INFALLIBLE god WE NOW HAVE IN EUROPE( ROME)
    I DONT MIND, SHOULD CIRCUMSTANCE CAL;L FOR IT.

  28. 34 nora
    March 15, 2010 at 15:08

    Perhaps he could stand trial for child endangerment and still be Pope…I have followed Ratzinger during his years as the iron hand of rules and rule making in the Vatican under the previous Pope. He has been the Catholic Church detail freak to beat all others. The process of removing himself from the direct reassignment of a child molester would have been carefully crafted. As were his statements of shock of the ‘American problem’ of priests molesting and then being shuffled onto an unsuspecting community. Looked at from the distance of twenty years, he is caught at his cynical game in the headlights. Bravo.

    For the bloggers that think celibacy is the problem, I was molested by a married Methodist clergyman. The statistics are just as bad for the religions with married clergy.

  29. 35 John Henry
    March 15, 2010 at 15:34

    To resign or not to resign? That’s a decision for the Pope and his church.

    How many of us practice what we preach…and this includes the clergy!?

    If he does resign then the Vatican spin doctors would have their work cut out for them. Dan Brown will write a new novel. The religious woodwork will be overflowing with the sins of exposed pastors, priests, reverends, prophets (or should that be “profits?”) etc.

    If he doesn’t resign it may be because of the concept of biblical forgiveness which can relate to the victim or the perpetrator…the perpetrator himself/herself having been a victim at some time.

    “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a biblical admonition given to God’s children. The Pope’s church should reflect on this and he should set the standard by heeding this warning…if it’s not too late.

  30. 36 Gary Paudler
    March 15, 2010 at 15:41

    Rape isn’t really about sex, it’s about power, control, violence. What the abusive priests did were crimes. Covering-up or facilitating or obstructing the prosecution of a crime is a crime. In what other organization or institution could the top official overlook, support and obscure serial sexual predation by their upper management without being prosecuted and imprisoned? I don’t care whether the pope resigns, but serious Catholics should care and should want the seat of their faith to be headed by a man of unquestionable morality. If he doesn’t resign, he should institute a zero-tolerance policy under which any allegation of abuse will be handed over to the police and the church cooperates unqualifiedly with the prosecution.

  31. 37 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    March 15, 2010 at 15:46

    it is only when money is there to be made that a crime becomes a crime!

    if our lawyers, judges, judiciaries and associates were honestly doing the jobs they are paid to do, it would not take 30 or more years for crimes to be discovered. thank god these things are not Doctors. A lot of unpopular and financially washed-out ‘lawyers’ must be trawling the creeks looking for someone to help them make money.
    __________

    Something above is strange ……. and please can it be clarified – where necessary – that it is SOME and not ALL Roman Catholic Priests and our Pope is not involved in any criminal act(s).

    • 38 Mike in Seattle
      March 15, 2010 at 17:04

      Maybe if the church didn’t continually swap abusive priests around like a Three Card Monte scam these crimes would have been exposed much sooner.

  32. 39 Linda from Italy
    March 15, 2010 at 15:50

    As what is euphemistically known as a lapsed Catholic, in my case the lapsing was a conscious decision, I’m also fairly sure protocol states that the Pope can’t just throw in the towel, someone will have to bump him off, as has allegedly happened in the past.
    This Pope has however, been a complete disaster for the Catholic church, I can recommend an interesting article in the UK Independent on that subject:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/faith/the-dark-side-of-the-pope-1921323.html

  33. March 15, 2010 at 15:57

    I dont think he should resign, because i do not believe it is an elective position. Investigations are still on and i think they should be allowed to reach a ogical conclusion. Are we preemting the resut of the investigation?

  34. March 15, 2010 at 15:59

    I dont think he should resign, because i do not believe it is an elective position. Investigations are still on and i think they should be allowed to reach a logical conclusion. Are we preemting the resut of the investigation?

  35. 42 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    March 15, 2010 at 16:00

    D in Indiana – It will also be a good thing if God does not get to read your post!

    Correction: It is not the Catholic Church; It is some priests in the Catholic Church. Nothing wrong with prostitutes, some are forced into it (often by married, hetrosexual ‘men’!) and pedophiles are everywhere. It just is easier to bash a pedophile ‘priest’ – especially if he is Catholic – than one off the street (all the ‘lawyers’ in town will be wanting to defend the street pedophile once they know the size of his bank account).

    • 43 D in Indiana
      March 15, 2010 at 18:41

      Positions of power are so easily used for corruption, deceit and lies.

    • 44 Meeta Rani
      March 22, 2010 at 18:10

      @Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan

      True, paedophiles exist everywhere and they deserve punishment. Nobody objects to that.

      The question here is that when catholic priests are paedophiles, are they still to be venerated?

  36. 45 viola
    March 15, 2010 at 16:00

    If there is a predisposing factor for molestation in the Church, it is an anti-female one that confuses sex between females and males as original sin to be engaged in only out of duty and to keep from “burning” with desire for something dirty which should be discontinued as soon as an acceptable number of children are born.

    Viola from Canada

  37. March 15, 2010 at 16:03

    ‘If anyone is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone’.

  38. March 15, 2010 at 16:04

    Salaam gang,
    I am practicing Muslim Shia, but I do believe that if the current Pope wasn’t not proven to be involved by any means in covering up all these child abuse cases by Catholic priests then he shouldn’t resign, otherwise he should resign… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  39. March 15, 2010 at 16:08

    Abolish Notion of Sacrosanct, Unblemished Personage!
    Islam, Catholicism or Judaism, the position of High Priest, Mufti or Leader is open to abuse. Why invest so much power in one person?

  40. March 15, 2010 at 16:12

    First of all, the Pope is only infallible when he makes an ex cathedra proclamation, which is rarely done.

    Second, the Pope should not resign. It is unfair to crucify him when he has not been able to present his side of the case. Until he releases his letter to the Catholic community, it would be pointless to even have this discussion.

  41. 51 Kenneth Ingle
    March 15, 2010 at 16:18

    The church is there to provide people with the knowledge of the teachings of Christ. It is up to the members themselves to live according to those teachings. People who do not, can hardly claim to be Christians. Nevertheless one of the points made by Christ – and this agrees with parts of the First Testament, as also believed in Jewish circles – is that someone who has done wrong, regrets having done so and asks God for forgiveness, can obtain clemency.
    The Pope is also not infallible when it comes to making private decisions, this is a wide spread notion, but quite wrong. The Infallibility concerns only proclaiming the policies of the RC Church, which have beforehand been agreed to by church leaders.
    Therefore there is no good reason for the Pope to resign! What he could do however, would be to remove all the surplus traditions and pomp which have been built up round the church for many years, and return to the basic principles of the Christian faith.

  42. 52 nora
    March 15, 2010 at 16:25

    Ivan, the lawyers were not willing to come forward and help thirty years ago. When clergy abuse victims were sent to me in the nineties, they were so frustrated by the cops, the lawyers and the churches that we had to change law in order to get justice at all. I personally spoke to every legislators office in both houses in order to effect a change in favor of juvenile victims here in California. That got the lawyers interested and the rest is history. The pain many of the victims felt was so great that they killed themselves, so those of us who survived felt the need to speak, not just on our own behalf, but for the dead who cannot speak.

    There will always be pedophiles, but they will not always have official cover and an institution to lie for them if our child rights movement has its way.

  43. 53 Linda from Italy
    March 15, 2010 at 16:26

    Up to a point you can’t just blame this Pope, but the whole rotten system. The previous one JPII made sure the college of cardinals was sufficiently stuffed with reactionaries as to ensure his “back to (fundamentalist) basics” regime would be continued and virtually handed the succession to Ratzinger. The difference being that JP was exceptionally media friendly, the Vatican’s answer to Beckham, whereas this one is more like Gordon Brown in the charisma stakes and so the mud has well and truly stuck.
    This is rather like US presidents trying to leave their legacy and skew the law in their own political direction by their Supreme Court appointments.
    A bit like Mugabe, it is only a question of time before there will be a change due to the intervention of Nature, but whether the Catholic Church will see some sense and elect a Latin American Pope, preferably one who embraces humanity, in the form of liberation theology, is yet to be seen, although I fear it will be business as usual in the Vatican.

  44. March 15, 2010 at 16:27

    The Catholic Church, especially the Vatican, isn’t new to scandal of great magnitude, ranging from collaborating with Hitler for the deportation and dissemination of Jews – at least by turning a blind eye to this – to continuous sex scandals involving at least a Pope who had illegitimate children.

    The Vatican should be frank by outlining the number of priests who were themselves the victims of sexual abuse within the Church when they were children. It is known that a sex victim becomes a sex aggressor.

    Changing a Pope with another won’t make any significant change if the abuse does continue or past abuses aren’t revealed in their entirety. Also saying sorry isn’t enough if offenders aren’t tried and judged, including the dead ones.

  45. 55 John in Salem
    March 15, 2010 at 16:33

    I don’t know but I’m hoping he doesn’t, because if he does this forum would get stuck for months on what the implications are for that dinosaur of an institution and I can’t imagine a more boring topic.

  46. 56 John Doe (a deer)
    March 15, 2010 at 16:34

    Actually, it is not believed by Catholics that the papal office is infallible; it is only certain decrees (that must meet certain criteria) that are declared infallible.

    “The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know.”
    -Pope Benedict XVI

  47. 57 nora
    March 15, 2010 at 16:35

    Abdelilah, most victims do not go on to be predators themselves. Part of the reason that I became active in changing law and came out of the closet as a molestation survivor was hearing over and over that we all molest kids when we are molested. Many people are sensitized to the traumas of children by their own bad experiences. If we were all molesters, there would be no movement to stop the abuse.

  48. 58 stephen/portland
    March 15, 2010 at 16:42

    Resign and take the religion with you.

    They should deal with their pervert priests with some sort of medieval torture for heresy against the church even if they just think unhealthy thoughts. This would give the really sadistic ones something to occupy themselves with.

    Wait that’s ridicules as no Church can survive a history of torture, suppression of ideas, denial of science, encouraging overpopulation, cover-ups and sex abuse over hundreds of years.

    Or can they?

    • 59 margaret
      March 15, 2010 at 18:23

      Well said, though the RC Church has also done good as well over its history. The child abuse scandal is indicative of a pervasive systemic problem in the church. I don’t see how forcing this Pope to resign will change anything as his replacements will be coming from the same cultural milieu.

      Margaret Tacoma, WA

  49. 60 tekkooo
    March 15, 2010 at 16:53

    I went over every opinion on this issue so far, and I can’t agree more or add anything more of what had been said.
    My opinion is though, would be, is to abolish all religions and replace them with an international code of conduct; agreeable, logical and acceptable by most civilized people (something like a constitution of good conducts and behaviours).
    We are in the twenty first century, most of the civilized communities are well educated and knowledgeable about the essence of life and humanity and that is more than we need to promote our lives. We don’t need a priests (headed by the pope), rabbis or mullahs to control our lives and abuse our children in the name of religion. Let us get rid of them once and for all. Simply, these will never, ever change – they are just as sinful as any common criminal and should be locked behind bars. As, for the Pope, if he was not aware of what was going on, then he is lousy manager and should quit, if he knew and made a cover up, then he had a hand in this complicities and should face the same punishment as those perpetrators.

  50. March 15, 2010 at 16:56

    The Pope has not done anything wrong. On the contrary he has gone about his papal duties with honour, dignity and humility. The priests who are in the negative lime-light for the very wrong reasons should be aked to leave. here the Pope could exercise stricter discipline. In any fraternity you will find ‘rotten apples’!

  51. 64 Crystal Ball
    March 15, 2010 at 17:01

    Why are so many people shocked by this. Have they forgotten that all religions are man made?
    The Catholic church has a history of abuse against those that would decry it and even colluded with the Nazi’s under Pious XII!
    The Church of England has changed many of the true meanings found in the Bible in order to be politically correct!
    Islam has been besmirched by the small number of Muslim fundamentalists that twist all meaning found in the Koran in order to push forward their own importance and power.
    The list goes on wherever you look. It sets brother against brother, sister against sister and will lead to the complete destruction of all that the original scriptures laid down for the betterment of mankind!
    As the Bible tells of the final reckoning it must be imagined that this is a route that was always going to be followed! All men are just men. There are none on Earth that should set themselves above others and none should be hailed as God’s chosen leaders by any others.

  52. 65 Phyllis
    March 15, 2010 at 17:05

    I do not think that he should resign yet. However, I am very happy that there are calls for him to do so.
    Maybe this whole affair would embarrass us to the point of addressing all the topics we avoid within the Church.
    For too long, we have sat in our pews and not expressed our thoughts on matters of abuse on the part of both Priests and Nuns. We have not made demands on the Clergy to enforce rules that would protect our children. We do not rise up in support of those who have been abused or those who have some dissenting opinion.
    A visit to any non denominational church in the Americas would reveal the startling number of Catholics who have given up and left the church, disenchanted.
    Hopefully, this matter, so close to the Pope, would help create an environment for honest expression within the Church.

  53. 66 Abram
    March 15, 2010 at 17:12

    I am not a big fan of the Roman Catholic church, as an institution, but I think it is outrageous and cynic for the secular world to point-finger at the Vatican with a sense of “Schadenfreude whenever there is some sort of “human deficiency” amongst the followers and servants of the church. It’s up to the the Pope and the Catholic church, whether the leader of the church steps down or not.

  54. March 15, 2010 at 17:16

    @ John Doe, The Pope is not infaillable, he is only infailble “ex-chathedra” meaning that the Pope’s judgement cannot be faulted in matters relating to the church. If the Pope holds an opinion about a political agenda, economy,etc, his judgement can be faulted, because it is seen as his personal opinion. Please lets note the difference . He is only infailable ‘ex-cathedra’.

  55. 68 Linda from Italy
    March 15, 2010 at 17:26

    As CEO of a global mega-corporation, surely the Pope’s is the head that should ultimately roll on the grounds of mismanagement? But wait…. are we not talking about God’s word and JC’s teachings?
    Only problem is, no one is sure quite who God is and how to interpret the teachings, particularly since the two rule books, the Old and New Testaments, seem to be diametrically opposed – wholesale smiting and divine retribution giving way to turning of cheek and blessed are the meek.
    Catholics vs Protestants and its umpteen varieties, Shia vs Suni vs Sufi Islam, Orthodox vs Reform Judaism, and so it goes on.
    Religion is a human construct and is inextricably bound up with politics and business so until people grasp this fact, all the corruption, dirty-dealing and lies that go with the job will continue, regardless of who chairs the board.

  56. 69 Lancer in Brown Deer
    March 15, 2010 at 17:45

    Clearly, the Roman Catholic Church and especially its hierarchy has done a terrible job handling sexual abuse cases for a long, long time. The pope and his advisers (I was going to say “minions”) have turned a deaf ear to this outrage for too many years. As the father of a child who was sexually abused by a member of a church of which I was pastor (but about which we did not know until 22 years later), I am especially sensitive to this issue. There is absolutely no excuse for not immediately dismissing such abusers and defrocking them. That’s what my denomination does and has done for many years.
    I highly recommend “Victims No Longer” for male sexual abuse victims. While it is not new (published in the early 1990s), it has many, many insights for men who have been sexually abused. And there is special attention paid to those who were abused by religious leaders.
    I have a hunch that until the RCC faces this issue completely and honestly, it will continue to eat away at its members and authority. No half way measures will suffice. And it may take the ordination of women to really bring peace to this church.

    • 70 alan loughlin
      March 15, 2010 at 18:00

      you say they should be defrocked, why not jailed like any other member of the public guilty of child abuse, do they have a seperate law to the rest of us?

  57. 71 Venkat Gopal, North Carolina, USA
    March 15, 2010 at 17:58

    If it is proven beyond any doubt that the abuse happened under his watch and turned a blind eye fully aware of what was going on, then must should go, there is no two way about it. Celibacy is the root cause, it is man made for the convenience of the catholic church and it is draconian!

  58. March 15, 2010 at 18:05

    Should the Pope resign? I don’t know whether he should or not,but he won’t.But he should have dealt more severly with his miscreants than he has done,after all,they failed to follow the teachings of their founder.But then again,no other pope acted either.So yes,it sounds very much like a big cover up,they just support each other no matter what.And to suggest that you did not know is plain nonesense,especially,in the whispering galleries of the vatican.

  59. 73 ben in indy
    March 15, 2010 at 18:11

    for the record being gay and pedophilia are two different things. sadly, the Church and the public are confused that being gay is fine and pedophilia is not.

    • 74 Linda from Italy
      March 15, 2010 at 18:26

      But ben, apparently, according to the Catholic church, being gay = hellfire and damnation for ever, being a paedophile = give him a bit of counselling and move him on.

  60. 75 roboturkey - Vancouver Washington
    March 15, 2010 at 18:12

    This is an institutional failure of the first order.
    Whether you identify the Church’s authority to minister to children from tradition, the written Gospel, or the centuries-old administration from the Vatican, the Church has failed the world’s children and there is a direct line of responsibility to the Pope. He was a line officer who knew direct facts about abuse and hid them. The Pope is culpable and should resign immediately or continue the hypocrisy.
    Rome’s credibility is one the line.

  61. 76 Michelle in Indiana
    March 15, 2010 at 18:13

    I agree with those who have said it won’t make much difference if the Pope resigns. This is an institutional failing and the attitude of the Catholic church needs to change.

    I work for a large religiously based organization (the YMCA). The staff receive extensive child-abuse training including how to spot children who have been abused and we have an obligation to report suspected abuse. It would not be so hard for employees of the church to receive similar training.

  62. March 15, 2010 at 18:25

    The concept of Infallibility is ridiculous and the Pope must absolutely take responsibility to reforming the culture of abuse within his organization.

    The issue is universal and has nothing to do with religion, priesthood, or celibacy per se. It’s the unsupervised one-on-one contact between non-parental adults and young children. Abuse occurs when parents are duped into trusting other adults to have special access and relationships with their children.

    The Pope must acknowledge the dangerousness of this culture and begin reforms immediately.

  63. 78 Jimmy
    March 15, 2010 at 18:34

    I thought the Pope is God’s representative on earth, God on earth if you will. If that’s the case, how could he possibly resign? Would God ever resign?

  64. 79 windysan
    March 15, 2010 at 18:35

    hari kari would be best

  65. 80 Jayson
    March 15, 2010 at 18:37

    It’s up to Catholics if they want him to resign. It’s their church and their children being victimized. It’s not the rest of the worlds decision.

  66. 81 Phyllis
    March 15, 2010 at 18:40

    Shouldn’t the Laity be called upon to take more responsibility? To play a bigger role?

  67. 82 Lauren in Portland
    March 15, 2010 at 18:43

    Saying that this is a public issue of a growing “sick society” implies that the public is to blame for the church’s actions. All this argument does is perpetuate the illusion of innocense within the Catholic church.

  68. 83 Lynn
    March 15, 2010 at 18:44

    Tha Catholic Church will continue in its decline, especially in the U.S. if it does not address the issue of abuse, celibacy, women as priests, power of the ministry and the role of church members in controlling the church. I wait for the issue of sexual abuse to erupt in Africa where women have been used by priests as concubines. I once was catholic but left because of the priests’ demands for power, their attitude towards women being responsible for rape, and their unwillingness to allow parishioners any say in how the local church would be controlled.

  69. 84 Mary V.
    March 15, 2010 at 18:48

    One of the radio guests said the Pope wants a smaller more pure church. The guest was impressed. That comment was in reference to the reformers within the church who want more democratic structures and the inclusion of women and married priests. Smaller more pure and more faithful means more obedient. There is nothing impressive about that– it is an attempt to maintain control. PS. I am a life long Catholic.

  70. 85 Chuck
    March 15, 2010 at 18:50

    This is not a new problem in the Catholic Church. In 1646 Pope Innnocent X closed the schools and abolished the Piarist order due to allegations of sexual abuse of children. At the time the Piarists had schools throughout Europe. The order was as large as the Jesuits and as well known. The Church rode out that controversy and I suspect that the hierarchy will take the position that in time this controversy will disappear.

    For further reading on this incident I suggest the work of Karen Liebreich, “Fallen Order” Atlantic Press, London 2004.

  71. March 15, 2010 at 18:55

    The alleged complicity of the Irish authorities, if true, does nothing to mitigate the responsibility of the Church. Guilty is guilty.

  72. 87 Prajwal Khadka,Nepal
    March 15, 2010 at 18:55

    No God..No religion…lets try and be human first…and child sex abuse is a legally punishable human crime. If any one is found involved in carrying out the crime or helping cover up the crime should be punished. Pop should have been more attentive to what was going on around him. He failed in his duty to save human children from having to go through the horrible experience of being abused by those so called representatives of god’s institution. Resignitation is an honorable choice for Pop.

  73. 88 pendkar
    March 15, 2010 at 18:57

    At a time when the civic societies take sexual abuse of children seriously and punish the offenders, it is a shame that pedophiles find a safe haven in the church. These offenders should be tried in the same way as the common people.

  74. March 15, 2010 at 19:07

    The layperson in me says that within all occupations the bad apples are discussed thus I find it naïve to think that the Pope had no knowledge that pedophilia was happening in various areas of the Catholic Church. But the lawyer in me says that all persons are innocent until prove guilty with evidence.

  75. 90 Alan in AZ
    March 15, 2010 at 19:16

    All religion aside!

    The Pope should take the initiative and place all that have been accused under strict control until the authorities can take them into custody for trial. Remove all those that knew or over saw the relocation of an accused, from any church functions until their complacency can be addressed and a trail initiated if required. Re-instate all that are proven innocent.

    If he was knowledgeable of what he is personally is accused of, he should step down and turn himself in as an accomplice to a crime for trial.

    He needs to set an example for justice or the church will never recover.

    This is Karma coming back on the church for the Inquisition!

  76. 91 Linda
    March 15, 2010 at 19:33

    The decision of resignation should be taken by people who are Catholics- who follow the Pope as their leader and who have been affected by the behavior of the many priests. It’s not one for us to make.

    • 92 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 03:28

      Linda- that is what faulty democratic thinking leads us to.

      Firstly, would you say that you do not care what happens to people in Haiti or Indonesia when there is an earthquake? Why we cannot show solidarity towards abused child victims anywhere in the world.

      Secondly, Christianity has spread to all countries. They can ask for extradition of priests to punish them according to local laws. This is not just a problem of Roman Catholic church but a law and order problem too, wherever it happens.

      If Roman Polanski could not be forgiven for having consensual sex with a minor (who and her family actually forgave him) and he was arrested in Switzerland nearly 30 years after the crime how can the priests and pope be forgiven ?

  77. 93 Barton
    March 15, 2010 at 19:36

    On the topic of considering the question of Pope Benedict stepping down is entirely too antcipatory. This Pope should be consided a reformation one. Let us give him time to clarify and settle the situation. The Pope is the spiritual head of the church and this cannot lightly put aside. As a practicing Catholic I have faith that the Chjuirch will reform itself and come out stronger.

  78. 94 Michael
    March 15, 2010 at 19:36

    I am a lay minister in the Catholic Church. I am also a survivor of clergy sexual abuse at the hands of a priest in Munich while Ratzinger was archbishop there. There is no acountability whatsoever among the clergy or hyerarchy in the church. Abuse happens in forms other than sexual, even to its employees, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

  79. 95 Linda
    March 15, 2010 at 19:38

    Yes, there needs to be accountability… but getting the Pope to resign may not help. It’s not going to get the bad guys out of the system. The people involved in these crimes need to dealt with one on one, so as not to overshadow the hard work and way of life of the many other good priests. The Pope in his infinite power can make some good changes and give the church a new direction.

  80. 96 Clamdip
    March 15, 2010 at 19:39

    The emphasis should be placed on the survivors of child sexual abuse who are exactly that just surviving. Abuse destroys people for the rest of their lives. They have difficult relationships, difficulty in maintaining work, difficulty in finding the will to live. This is a crime.

  81. 97 Enid Ongaya
    March 15, 2010 at 19:48

    The pope should not resign over the scandal unless it is proved he has done nothing about it but he has.The visits he made to afflicted countries to address priests is proof.The hierarchy in the church works as is proved we’re assigning blame to The Pope!The solution is to punish the offenders but after investigations(which I am sure is taking place).We must also be careful to discern cases where people are just after money.The problem is not celibacy its ridiculous to think so.Priests must be counselled before taking this step to be a priest to avoid such cases.Cover ups in the church?Go read your Canon Law again.It is not an institutional failure that there are paedophiles.Would you like to see the accussed beheaded to be satisfied.The priests who committed these heinous acts are the ones with the problem not the Pope.

  82. March 15, 2010 at 19:57

    The Pope should not be asked to resign. Jesus once said of His Accusers: “He who is NOT guilty of sin should cast the first stone”.

    • 99 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 03:14

      If Christ had imagined that his priests will abuse children he would have said – Thou shall not abuse children.

  83. 100 Cabe UK
    March 15, 2010 at 20:00

    @ Nora … ” most victims do not go on to be predators themselves….”

    Hi Nora, I Think that’s partially right… depends mainly upon the abuser themselves. If it is abuse within the home and family, it tends to be a generational thing. The behaviour is ingrained and normalised so that those children usually go on to abuse within their own families when they grow up. There is definitely a cycle otherwise it would never have been perpetuated all these centuaries.
    If it is a ‘predatory’ abuser (ie a stranger) then they themselves have usually come from an abusive background but the children they abuse do not usually go on to be abusers themselves. They do though own dysfunctional types of behaviour (ie: obesity, low self-esteem, self-harm, fear, insecurity etc etc, and some develop deep anger/ frustration in later life, which needs to be addressed)

  84. March 15, 2010 at 20:05

    You have just lost a listener. Your programme about child abuse in the Catholic Church consisted of nothing but catholic apologists in a vain attempt to maintain some credibility.

    The programme should be renamed “BBC editors let those they agree with have their say”. Like our so-called democracy it is another attempt to get people to believe that what they think can be heard and that they matter.

    Of course we don’t!

    Adieu

  85. 102 Richard
    March 15, 2010 at 20:06

    I have many times heard the argument that this type of abuse happens everywhere, but I do think a church, an organization that claims to have the “keys to heaven” should expect to be held to a higher standard and face tighter scrutiny. This type of abuse happening at all is, of course, an abomination, and I think using the argument that it happens elsewhere is nothing but “smoke and mirrors”…a tactic to distract and misdirect.

  86. March 15, 2010 at 20:10

    Just finished listening,great programme.To tell us of all the good the church has done sounds very like a plea for leniencey of sentance.Also,to suggest that priest child abusers are no worse than other abusers,that is sheer hypocracy comming from holy orders,you are ten times worse.

  87. 104 Thomas Murray
    March 15, 2010 at 20:12

    No.

    But I can’t for the life of me why they still ban priests from marrying.

    After all, wasn’t it St. Paul who said, “Better to marry than to burn”?

    I mean, don’t those guys read their own Book?????

    –Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  88. 105 nora
    March 15, 2010 at 20:15

    Why not have a moderator who knows the story well enough that your show does not provide a vehicle to simpering priests who preach and coo the cover-up lines about the Bible and good works? This is re-injuring people who have struggled to have their story heard. The Irish held up the argument, but the Nigerian priest is exactly the kind of ‘christian’ that forced me to seek legal redress because only the hard hand of the law will stop the clergy cover-up. The fact that the Vatican put out a press release should not interfere with the search for the truth.

  89. 106 Cabe UK
    March 15, 2010 at 20:29

    I don’t think he should resign. There are too many factors like – it is too large an organisation and considering the many historical ‘sins’ of the church as a whole, it would be quite pointless to resign on this one thing.
    What the Pope and the Church SHOULD do is to inject a bit more muscle into that backbone of their’s and clean up their act big time!
    That would make more sense and better inspire and heal the rift with their congregation and religion as a whole.

  90. 107 Halima
    March 15, 2010 at 20:31

    YES, the idea that anyone human being can tell other human beings how all of them should live their lives is ridiculous anyway.

  91. March 15, 2010 at 21:30

    Mike in Seattle & Michael K. Lavers ~ you gents are two wise and well informed people. Thank you for your observations on this topic.

    And to Michael the lay minister. You have my respect. Keep up your spirited good work even in the face of hierarchical dogma.

    I reckon the church still burns people that stand in its path they just don’t do it overtly with wood these days. I reckon Karen Armstrong would be a good Pope coach. Compassion would be a lovely concept for the RC church to embrace uniformly – something she has been preaching for years and years. Not the execution of political power which is the RC’s church living history. What I’d like to know is where is Jesus in this story? Where are the little children suffered onto him? Where is the rest of love promised through the highest of commandments to love your God completely and to love your neighbour as yourself, employing the old Asian Golden Rule?

    Regards,

    Best regards,

  92. 109 GTR5
    March 15, 2010 at 22:35

    Absolutely Not!

  93. 110 Richard Campbell
    March 15, 2010 at 23:44

    Yes the Pope should go but who will replace him? It seems the whole of the Catholic priesthood are in this up to their halos!

  94. 111 Alan in AZ
    March 15, 2010 at 23:59

    @ Cabe

    I think it’s all those past sins committed by the church that should make the church do the right thing in this day and age. They can’t hide all of the sins of it’s clergy like they use to in the past. The church organization needs to be accountable or it’s members will turn to vigilantism if there is now justice.

  95. 112 Arts
    March 16, 2010 at 01:03

    The question is whether Pope Benedict can credibly address issues that he must have been aware of – Germany, lieutenant to previous Pope and now Pope.

    All it will take is for someone to demonstrate that he was in the right place, at the right time, with appropriate authority .. and ..

    At times like this a new broom sweeps cleanest.

    But where to find a suitable applicant, untainted by what is emerging as a global phenomenon?

  96. 113 DWF, INDIA
    March 16, 2010 at 03:40

    The fact remains that the priests do come from our very own society and are very much surrounded by the culture of death. The immoral cultures that are so openly found in the US and Europe do exert pressure and temptation on any human being, more so the priests. Would they not succumb to temptation if they are bombarded with sexual imagery several times a day? Are they not also human?

    Who should resign because of the pornographic images and immoral lifestyle that is given place in our society? I guess it is all heads of state who would have to resign for allowing the sex industry to proliferate. Who should resign because pornography is so freely available on the internet? Who should resign for teen age pregnancies?

    It is often argued that celibacy is the cause of child abuse…are all child abusers unmarried?? – I think not! Then marriage could be the ‘punishment’ for child sex offenders🙂

    • 114 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 11:49

      @DWF,

      Some readers here argue that Pope should not resign as he is elected by God. Others argue that Pope should resign because he is elected by God and he has failed God. Still others argue that Pope should resign because he is not God but human and if all others humans can be punished why should he be spared. He had a moral responsibility to save the most vulnerable children. Since sexual abuse of children by priests was not an isolated incident of abuse but an organised crime for decades, he should resign.

      And DWF, now you come with the idea that Pope is human and should be forgiven (while other humans are punished). So it appears that there are many who want to save him, to save their own face as they will become disillusioned when Roman Catholicism as it is practiced today breaks down. I would say- give a chance for True Christianity filled with honesty and truthfulness and integrity to emerge and guide the people. Let it be a religion of Christ and not popes. Else, people will find other ways for satisfying their spiritual seeking and satiating their souls.

  97. 115 M in USA
    March 16, 2010 at 04:07

    The rc church must reorganize itself. Recognize the crimes committed,submit to lawful justice, and bring women into the clergy and church hierarchy in order to better protect the children. Any strictly patriarchal organization is doomed to eventual failure and abuse when not balanced in its representation of its people.

    • 116 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 03:05

      True, I think if more women were priests then such crimes would happen on a lesser scale. So they kept the women away.

  98. 117 Hardik Pokhrel
    March 16, 2010 at 04:26

    This is not the first time that the church has been accused of these.So, the message goes loud and clear.HE SHOULD RESIGN.
    Hardik, NEPAL

  99. 118 Audrey
    March 16, 2010 at 05:52

    It is sickening to hear people say ” we have all fallen short of the glory’ and should therefore ‘ pray for the pope’. no, who then, shall seek justice for the molested children? Put yourself in the shoes of a child who has been abused by a priest, an ‘untouchable and almighty’ person. Imagine how helpless these children feel. We cannot wish away this situation, we must get justice. It is mandatory for the catholic church to check how it works, and this can only be done if those implicated are out of office. The church advocates for social justice and democracy around the world, therefore, practising a little transparency shouldn’t be too difficult.
    And on celibacy, well, history will judge the church harshly for forcing such unnatural habits on men of goodwill.

  100. March 16, 2010 at 06:44

    hi,

    How can the Pope resign?

    He is elected for life !!!

    So where is the so called resignation clause for him to resign?

    Philip

  101. March 16, 2010 at 07:17

    Listening to the ABC radio (a BBC affiliate) in Australia broadcasting the Senate hearings today the Independent Senator Bob Catter made the issue of women in his electorate. There is a farmer who commits suicide every 4 days there are no men that work in the banks and 95% of the Doctors are women and there are no male nurses.
    My Comments: If you go to a large shopping mall such as where I live on the Gold Coast Queensland, 97% of the people employed are women, 73% of the shops are for women’s fashions or ancillary products for women. Out of the 86 stores (Southport) there are only 3 shops that are exclusive men’s shops. The Food chain stores (Coles or Woolworths) 98% are women.
    You don’t have to go to India or ask the Pope to find in equality, it at your front door.
    Southport
    Australia

  102. 121 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    March 16, 2010 at 07:38

    Being pope is just another like any other job. It has little to do with morality, salvation or going to heaven (by the way I don’t think there is a heaven). There are only two differences between Benedict XVI’s job and mine or yours. First he has to change his name before assuming office (something he shares with actors, actresses, wrestlers and musicians) and secondly he has his job for life. So let the man be. Resigning would not turn kinky priests and bishops into pargons of virtue.

    • 122 Thomas Murray
      March 16, 2010 at 20:40

      Personal to Henry Nyakoojo in Kampala:

      I hear you brother. I am not particularly religious, but as a physicist I cannot believe the consciousness ceases to exist upon death. Its very extinction verges on breaking the universal law that neither mass nor energy can be destroyed, only transformed.

      So I feel that the Buddhists (and Hindus) are onto something about reincarnation. And that the good karma and bad karma one accumulates in life determines ones status in the next life. In a way, that’s why we observe people sadly living a hell on Earth, while others share a sort of heaven. (I think I’m running a deficit in the good karma account, but at least I try.)

      For all we’ve discovered, the one thing that seems certain is that the universe is the great recycler. And that there is a heaven. Just as there is a hell.

      This also explains why so many physicists are into the Vedas.

      –Peace, Louisville, Kentucky US.

  103. 123 Sergio Joaquim Dique
    March 16, 2010 at 09:47

    We may be looking at this problem from a wrong point of view. Most problems get solved if, we know the root cause. The mountain of evidence here is that priest are human being and nature provided for sex between them. Be it gay, lesbian, heterosexual, or whatever we might want to call it.

    The notion that priest should live in celibacy, does not seem to be yeilding the expected level of sanctity, hence priest indulge in the pervesity of sexual abuse.

    I AM A FIRM BELIEVER IN MARRIAGE AND SEX. IF PRIESTS ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE A SAFE AND LEGAL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP, THE PROBLEMS WE WOULD BE DISCUSSING ARE NOT ABUSE BUT OF CONDUCT, SUCH AS ADULTERY.

    ALLOW THEM PRIEST TO MARRY, MR POPE, AND THAT WOULD GET YOU OUT OF THIS MESS.

  104. 124 Cabe UK
    March 16, 2010 at 12:01

    @ Alan – (re: …”past sins ” of the church )

    Alan – the thing is I absolutely agree with you! (Although in the scheme of things – every Government, Monarchy, historical long-standing organisation etc, etc have done ‘past-sins’ and none of them have resigned either)

    The Pope resigning will just be a ‘statement’ that’s all.
    It won’t actually solve or amend anything. They will put someone else in after him and nothing will have really happened – they will just have layer-caked it!

    Like I said, the Pope and the Church should get off the fence and do justice by this…

  105. March 16, 2010 at 12:41

    The current pope is actively addressing the isssue of misconduct by the clergy more than any prilate in the modern times . I wonder why anybody shoud dream of calls for him to resign ! The campaigners for resignation should address the (political) dispots of the world wolfs mascurading as heads of state most of whom had been in power for more that 30 years with dibilitating effects on their subjects .

  106. 126 Tom Morgan
    March 16, 2010 at 13:30

    There’s no excuse for child abuse and no admonishment harsh enough, so I won’t try to understand a pedophile’s mind. I’ll simply accept they exist and that they need to be restrained. Pedophiles are deranged; period. Whether they are priests or not is less relevant. That they are already NOT celibate is clear. Marrying them won’t make them forgo their desires.
    That having been said, the Church did fail to deal with the matter. The clergy should have been more objective and more assertive in removing these offenders and locking them up where they could be monitored, controlled and punished.
    Nevertheless, the Church and its Pope are not evil and calling for the removal of the very Pope who is actually striving to make things right and who is working towards purifying the Catholic Church is counterproductive. We should instead support Pope Benedict XVI in his endeavours to clean up the Church.

  107. 127 Angela in Scotland
    March 16, 2010 at 14:17

    Sexual abuse happens in all spheres of society. What i object to is organisations, institutions and churches for the intent of self preservation will lie, cover up, avoid all these issues whilst most of the victims are suffering in silence. No one is above the law, not even the pope, all the people involved have a moral obligation to help all these victims no matter what the outcome is for them. Practice what you preach. If the priesthood is attracting pedeophiles then how about castrating all priests, let us see how many are still serious about God’s calling.

  108. 128 CJ McAuley
    March 16, 2010 at 14:18

    While the Pope is regarded as “infallable” in matters of Roman Catholic Church doctrine, as a human being he is obviously both fallable and a sinner, so everyone should get than straight. Anyone interested about the abuse of the clergy should :Listen Again” to Radio Ulster’s “Talk Back” program of today. The defence of the Monsignor Dullet(sp) of Cardinal Sean Brady is truly breathtaking in its attempt to justify allowing the convicted paedophile priest, Brendan Smyth, to not be reported to police. The time to try to forever end the secrecy of the Vatican is NOW! While I was raised a Catholic, I have not held that Church in an esteem for over 30 years now. Though I still try to live by Christ’s teachings, the Vatican&Pope are both past their “best before” dates. For it is increasingly becoming apparent that the Vatican has put both its reputation and financial worth far above the well-being of children!!!

  109. 129 Amir
    March 16, 2010 at 14:21

    I think the Pope should be questioned about his knowledge of these haneous acts of abuse and human rights violations. if it was that he was aware of these and did nothing then YES he should step down as the head of the catholic religion, in fact he should not even hold any posts and criminal charges should be laid against him as he can be deemed as an accomplice to these crimes.

  110. 130 Colin L Beadon
    March 16, 2010 at 14:49

    I see you blocked my post on the Pope subject. So there is not freedom on the BBC press. I would not be upset if I had written something untrue, crude, or immoral. Colin in Barbados.

  111. 131 Stan bloggs
    March 16, 2010 at 15:21

    It is not only members of the priesthood, including the present Pope, who must have known about it, but also thousands of lay members of the church who suffered abuse themselves or believed someone who told them that they had.

    It is encouraging that at last the matter is being discussed openly. More people are now realising serious nature of the threat that organised religion is to our society. Think of all the people whose lives have been ruined by physical and sexual abuse. Do we still want to send our children to faith schools?

  112. March 16, 2010 at 15:48

    I am always conflicted about this kind of story whenever it is raised; in part because as a Roman Catholic, myself, I am inclined to believe that mistakes are to be forgiven. However, I feel that some mistakes are so egregious that a simple (?) pardon sometimes is not sufficient to allay public anxiety and restore the confidence and hope of the faithful.

    The challenge for us Catholics and, in thise case the Holy Father is that just as many non-Catholics have a good many things to say about this issue, as those inside the Church. A greater sense of care has to be utilised in how some of these issues are addressed by the Church. Evidence of criminality should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, insofar as we operate within the strictures of civil society, notwithstanding our moral call to human compassion, forgiveness and love.

    So, I guess it is over to His Holiness in terms of addressing this issue in a manner that will satisfy all these demands. I personally do not advocate him stepping down, but let us see what he has to say on the matter and whether it is considered sufficient by all involved.

  113. 133 Elias
    March 16, 2010 at 17:13

    More and more people are discouraged in the catholic faith, on the one hand they are preached for the goodness of man, on the other hand they find the hipocrasy of sex abuse by the catholic priests, so their belive has been tarnished considerably. Accordingly the office of the Pope has been reduced to the extent of being unreliable.

  114. 134 archibald in Oregon
    March 16, 2010 at 17:21

    Can anyone say, “accessory, after the fact”? He should be behind bars with the rest of them. Let us recount the abuses and outrageous acts of popes and priests through the ages, then consider why we continue to forgive and/or forget. Blinded by faith or just by fear of god?
    Either way, it is centuries past the “Age of Enlightenment” and we are still condoning horrible acts by our inability to simply say ENOUGH!!!!!!

    • 135 Meeta Rani
      March 17, 2010 at 02:45

      TRUE, they should ALL be behind bars. There they can beg God for forgiveness. I think even Christ – the most mericiful- will not show mercy on child predators and those in power who allowed the abuse to happen.

  115. 136 Darius Ndyomugyenyi
    March 16, 2010 at 19:07

    Pope is like an eye Catholics and some other believers use to determine how to win every day challenges and learn more how to enjoy life as God requires. However, Everyone must be responsible of any evil act committed.

    Human race has sunk the teeth into what it cannot chew. We must learn why, how, when, and what to adapted rather than just being overload with the implementation processes that result into human miseries. We must accept that Sexual abuse act has colonized the globe.

    To my continent Africa, medical doctors, witch doctors are agents while guerrilla wars launched and facilitated the act into the governments as it spread to the grass roots. Now it has penetrated into the church. Published Statements that includes this “Most damagingly for Benedict XVI, his home country of Germany is dealing with the revelation that an abusive priest was allowed to abuse again, while Benedict was his boss as Archbishop of Munich” throw my mind very far. The police has registered and published very many evil cases madder inclusive derived from sexual abuse.

  116. 137 Darius Ndyomugyenyi
    March 16, 2010 at 19:09

    Pope is like an eye Catholics and some other believers use to determine how to win every day challenges and learn more how to enjoy life as God requires. However, Everyone must be responsible of any evil act committed.
    Human race has sunk the teeth into what it cannot chew. We must learn why, how, when, and what to adapted rather than just being overload with the implementation processes that result into human miseries. We must accept that Sexual abuse act has colonized the globe.
    To my continent Africa, medical doctors, witch doctors are agents while guerrilla wars launched and facilitated the act into the governments as it spread to the grass roots. Now it has penetrated into the church. Published Statements that includes this “Most damagingly for Benedict XVI, his home country of Germany is dealing with the revelation that an abusive priest was allowed to abuse again, while Benedict was his boss as Archbishop of Munich” throw my mind very far. The police has registered and published very many evil cases madder inclusive derived from sexual abuse.

  117. March 16, 2010 at 20:03

    @ archibald in Oregon,

    Roman Catholics are generally not ‘blinded by faith or fear of God’, as much as we are taught to see the best in people. Whether people live up to that expectation is another matter altogether. Indeed, many within the Church have used their authority and positions of power over time to sanction, as well as perpetrate all forms of abuses. However, the Church has never appeared to explicitly agree with such actions, at least as far as I am aware – fear of God, blind faith or no.

    Convincing non-Catholics and even non-Christians about that decision to be Catholic in a time of science is very hard. However, I accept in faith that though those who occupy the posts of Pope are mere humans, the Office is, itself, beyond reproach. Our belief in the Holy Spirit means then that if the Pope is to step down then this will happen. In the meantime, we await his response in on this timely matter.

  118. 139 Meeta Rani
    March 17, 2010 at 02:40

    Yes, the pope MUST resign if he has any conscience at all.

    If any ordinary mortal in such a situation has to resign- then someone with his holy position must do more so and quickly.

    Obviously we cannot ask the Pope to commit Harakiri – the Japanese way to save honor, so he can at least resign. If he does not resign then people will resign themselves from Roman Catholic Church anyway. That will be the end of the Papacy. Is that what the Pope wants?

  119. 140 Ronald Almeida
    March 17, 2010 at 07:58

    Should the Pope resign?

    Every individual is unique and the centre of his own universe. If he or she is incapable of finding the concept of God within it, they ought not to criticise or question those that do. The Pope is only the representative of such an institution and can not be held responsible for those who do not comply with its views or regulations.

    ‘I do not come to praise The Pope, I come to………

  120. 141 Maria Mann
    March 17, 2010 at 10:04

    That the Catholic Church has prevailed over centuries, with scandals, political interference, wars, crusades, holocausts and sex scandals is your answer right there. I have nothing but contempt for this order of hypocrites and criminals. The should have a ticket to the hell that they think exists.

  121. 142 Cabe UK
    March 17, 2010 at 13:42

    I suppose ultimately Christianity is not about the Pope but about its followers.

    Such hatred for the head honcho sounds a bit deranged. ( It would be interesting to note what religion the hatred is coming from as well….)

    The man may truly have not known about what was going on… similar to a weak King surrounded by corrupt advisors…
    The church definitely needs to clean up it’s act but to say things like = “it should go back to Christ is a bit off…. why not say it to Muslim Fundamentalists as well then – as THEY seem to have forgotten Christ and are more interested in their Prophet than their God – And, unlike the Church – their abuse is world-wide yet no one is sacking Mr Ayatolla are they ?

  122. 143 G.Smith
    March 18, 2010 at 00:14

    The Church appears to be coming under attack from anyone who has a grievance from long ago! The pope is Not to blame for the sin of individuals!

    • 144 alan loughlin
      March 18, 2010 at 17:31

      rubbish, he is personally responsible like any head of any organisation, he probably has been up to it himself anyway, they seem all to think it their right to do so, what a sick lot, disassociate yourself from them or you are as bad as them

  123. March 18, 2010 at 08:58

    They Pope should not resign due to the misconduct of members of the clergy. The Pope has the tedious task of governing over a 100,000 priest from different orders and ethnicity. Sadly, some of these priests have other ulterior motives than spread the Gospel. As a devout catholic I will support the church in all its needs in de-weeding the church of pedophiles and homosexuals. The tenets of the bible and the priesthood explicitly describes its opinion on the institution’s beliefs.

    The Pope, like any other father, cannot and does not have the power to scrupulously observe each priest. Furthermore, it is ludicrous for one man or one tribunal commission to rid the detritus out of the clergy.

    In addition, i think it is unfair for people to not accept his letter as an apology. The church as an institution can only send out a open apology. it would be preposterous for the Catholic Church to rewrite her laws to accommodate unorthodox behaviours.

    As catholics and believers in the greater good of humanity, we need to pray and be forgiving but we cannot forget what happened. As a church, we need to learn from our mistakes and ensure that future mistakes like this cannot tarnish our fragile reputation. Have faith in the Holy See. Vivat !

  124. March 18, 2010 at 14:51

    @ Meeta Rani

    I tend to agree with your assertions, yet “pope as Anti-Christ or acting as Anti-Christ’ is a worn fundamentalist Protestant jibe of a by-gone age and used excuse the killing of hundreds in Ireland and thousands elsewhere. Always a risk to shout Anti-Christ I reckon. Next we’d be saying that Nuns were created to serve the sexual interests of Priests and other war of religions nonsense. I know if you want to research news articles on the abuse of children it isn’t the preserve of Catholic institutions alone but Protestant, evangelical and other fundamentalist organisations and society has been abusing children for sexual pleasure since we climbed out of caves and before, I reckon.

    • 147 alan loughlin
      March 18, 2010 at 17:28

      ok then so that makes it all ok, carry on abusing it seems natural does it not, get real, these are a load of paedophiles, treat them as such, put them behind bars, like in any organisation the head is equally culpable, he should habg his head in shame, instead he bribes witnesses and victims to keep quiet, shame on them all, anyone who blindly follows these lot needs to reassess themselves.

    • 148 Meeta Rani
      March 20, 2010 at 00:01

      @crikeycooperative

      If you say that sexual abuse of children has been happening since man climbed out of the caves, then probably religion evolved with its moral dictates to save children from such predators.

      I would welcome exposures of all religious institutions who are involved in ruining the innocence and lives of children. It is not just a sin but also a crime. If churches refuse to punish their clergy then we have the prisons waiting for these criminals

  125. 149 Tom Morgan
    March 18, 2010 at 15:18

    Shakespeare wrote, quite correctly, in Henry V – Act 4; Sc1:

    “If a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him (…)You may call the business of the master the author of the servant’s
    damnation: but this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
    his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. (…) Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own.”

    This has not changed. The Pope and his Church do not purpose the ills of children when they purpose the good service of priests, and so he is not bound to answer for the particular sins of deranged men hidden amongst his thousands of good priests.

  126. March 18, 2010 at 15:44

    The very question is ignorant, but let’s indulge in it for a moment longer. Shakespeare wrote, quite correctly, in Henry V – Act 4; Scene 1:

    “If a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him (…) So, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant’s damnation: but this is not so. The king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. (…) Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own.”

    This has not changed and it hold to the particular situation of Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope and his Church do not purpose the ills of children when they purpose the good service of priests, and so he is not bound to answer for the particular sins of deranged men hidden amongst his tens of thousands of good priests.

  127. March 18, 2010 at 16:27

    @Tom Morgan ~ “[]…tens of thousands of good priests…”. That is a most blessed and pleasant idea. However, given the – not yet fully exposed – actions of the wicked (hidden and all as it is) among the supposed good, are we only to presuppose the good are in fact “good”?

  128. March 18, 2010 at 17:42

    @ crikeycooperative:

    Are we to suppose everyone has ulterior motives? Are we to render verdict without all the facts? Are we to judge everyone guilty until proven innocent? Are we to suppose crikeycooperative is really a real person? That’s all a question for individual conscience, I suppose.

    I, for one, prefer to suppose that most of us are indeed people of good will, including priests of every denomination. If I’m wrong, why should we even bother about the subject at the centre of this discussion?

    • 153 alan loughlin
      March 18, 2010 at 17:51

      i agree, well said, most of us are good people and are sickened by all this child abuse, the problem is the church, it is rotten to the core, it is outdated, bigoted, and plainly sick, which is why it is in terminal decline, as is religion in gereral, anybody who finds abuse of children repulsive should disassociate themselves from the church and religion, do as i have done leave it all behind and become a humanist, a person who leads a good life without religion or superstition, i have now de-baptised myself, a good feeling.

  129. March 18, 2010 at 20:06

    @ alan loughlin:

    Alan, so much hatred and spite can’t be good for you. Try to let go a little. Live happily as a humanist and let those who found religion to their own happiness. After all, it is a matter of individual conscience.

    In fact, individual conscience is at the heart of the matter discussed here. Individual conscience gives meaning to purpose and purpose is what differentiates a murderer from a soldier or a prison warden from a torturer. Individual conscience is what allows you to live as humanist and shun responsibility for whatever social groups around you decide to do with their lives. Freedom to choose according to conscience is what makes he who performs a deed responsible for it. Conversely, it is what makes he, who did not partake in that deed, not responsible for he who did.

    None of us is responsible for what the neighbor does; unless we are directly provoking a response. For instance, what response would you expect from your own provocations? It can’t be good, can it?

    • 155 alan loughlin
      March 22, 2010 at 08:07

      the only hatred i have is for child abusers, they need to be dealt with to stop them ruining more lives, the church is imploding in its own filth, all out there who find child abuse offensive should disassociate themselves from the church and religion, otherwise they are complicit in it, it is that simple.

  130. March 18, 2010 at 22:34

    In return @Tom ~ Fair points. I would claim overly fair. Why not the reverse and in the spirit of the original question. Wash the organisation’s dirty washing in public, hang the organisation out to dry, give the wrong doers no refuge and squeeze the righteous or even maybe the self-righteous for what ever good may be yielded. Or are the devote laity to always come swinging in to cover the trails of hypocrites so that they may masquerade as custodians of social morality and preach as if unblemished? I for myself would rather see the Pope orchestrate and then preside over a humble, contrite, less judgmental and accountable church.

    Regards,

    • 157 Tom Noel-Morgan
      March 23, 2010 at 20:41

      @crikeycooperative:

      You’ll get no argument from me there. I agree with you and with Pope Benedict XVI, who declared he would rather have a smaller but truer flock of the faithful.

      I see in him a man willing to go the lengths to clean-up the Catholic Church and reestablish its values wherever they have been compromised. He has shown himself more than willing to do it. What he needs is support, not a bashing.

  131. 158 ramfar
    March 18, 2010 at 23:10

    Yes, of course he should resign. This is a no-brainer. He is the rotten core of a rotten institution. Every priest involved should be prosecuted and jailed.

  132. 159 Craigrobert
    March 20, 2010 at 15:49

    Leave the Pope alone he’s doing a marvellous job in extremely difficult circumstances.

    • 160 alan loughlin
      March 22, 2010 at 08:04

      then why do we just leave all the paedophiles alone and just let them get on with child abuse when they want, you are effectively saying this, he is associated with paedophilia and perverting the course of justice, he belongs behind bars, he and his cohorts disgust me.

  133. 161 Will
    March 21, 2010 at 22:04

    Any priest that knew about child molestation and did not report it to the police belongs in jail. I think there are about 10,000 priests including the pope that belong in jail. Why are prosecutor not charging these priest with obstruction of justice? Is there a worst crime than molesting a child? The Catholic Church is a corrupt and criminal conspiracy. It is a cult of child molesters.

    • 162 alan loughlin
      March 22, 2010 at 08:01

      well said, but nobody on this site has come up with the answer as to why they are not being prosecuted, this needs answering urgently.

  134. 163 loudobservant
    March 22, 2010 at 01:46

    Well done,Will,I fully agree with you when you say “the church ans Christianity, are a cult guilty of punishment in JAIL”
    Look, what they did in Haiti in the name of their religion; they were trying to take undue advantage of the situation by abducting orphan children without even insuring whether or not their parents were alive or dead!!!

  135. March 22, 2010 at 08:40

    On Issues pertaining to the Catholic church,I seem to find the comments from Moslems more moderate than that of inputs from some ‘Penticostals Christians’. These free wheeling so called ‘born again Christians’ with little or no regulation or control as each person strives to creat a religiouscompany of thier own seem to sieze any opportunity to condemn the Catholic church with terminative emphasis. They foget that the catholic church is the original church with direct contact to Christ. That it is one the oldest religious instutions and had even weathered worst storms and is still growing and a very strong institution.

  136. March 22, 2010 at 09:04

    To all these people willing to vanqiush the Catholic Church -the oldest Christian Institution ,I have one piece of advice : reflect on you own religious groups (or institutions if you belong to an esterbulished religion ). identify the problems and dysfunctional impart of you groups .In the case of the so called penticostal christians “why is the group always splitting with every on aspiring to creat his own ‘religious business’ controlled soley by herself.The creator of the religious business is the ‘general overall highest priest’ his wife his assistant and the heirachy ends there. The elders are never empowered or trusted with posts .This type of business can never be institutionized as it is not true to what she preaches.

  137. March 22, 2010 at 16:11

    Any breaking of the law, especially as it involves the lives of the innocent must never be tolerated, whether in Church or outside of it! What is more, whether the Pope resigns or not, does not change the larger politics at work – the growing dislike of relgion and specifically, the Catholic Church, especially in the age of Modern Science in the West. Of course, as Abdelilah notes earlier, that the Catholic Church is no stranger to scandal. That, however, does not by itself undermine the value of the ideals of the Church, itself, as much as how flawed those who are set up to regulate them are and have been. The Pope’s actions will be very telling in terms of the response he has given. Is an apology by itself, sufficient? I don’t know. But, we shall see.

  138. 167 George
    March 27, 2010 at 21:13

    The Roman Catholic Church has not followed the Holy Bible closely. No where does it say in the Bible that priests should be celibate. Peter whom Catholics consider as the first pope was married and Jesus prayed for his mother in law. That is the reason why millions are leaving the Catholic Church after reading the Bible. At one time lay Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. There have been Popes who had children in history.

  139. March 28, 2010 at 13:02

    Yes,the Pope should resign. He was responsible for dealing with matters of paedephilia concerning Priests, Bishops and Nuns throughout the world for 24 years and we now know that he conspired to cover up these crimes. His decisions re. faith and morals are said to be infallable but we now know that this is not so, certainly as far as morals are concerned.


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