The MSM will be excited about the title: The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse
The MSMS will latch on to his criticism of the oh-so-golden-halcyon 60’s, which, for Benedict were the turning point.
Benedict doesn’t give specific, curiosity pleasing solutions and he left a lot of things unsaid… that he could have said. He approached a few issues, such as homosexuality in formation of priests in seminaries. He doesn’t make explicit connections, which will leave some unsatisfied and others delighted.
However, there is a poignant cri de coeur in this piece, which leads the attentive reader to his point. He describes the Church as going through her Job period of testing and purification and serious down-sizing. I wonder if he had an experience like Leo XIII, who overheard God and the Devil dickering over the Church for a century of trial. Benedict points to the loss of the sense of Mystery in worship, especially regarding to Eucharist, and the Church. He underscores the importance of natural law in moral theology and the connection of doctrine and law. Hence, he interconnects, Cult, Code, and Creed. His underlying foundation is lex orandi, lex credendi and lex vivendi. It has to be. But these are out of sorts, because weeds in the field and evil fish in the nets have disconnected them and tried to rebuild the Church in human terms. I especially liked his shot: “What must be done? Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed.”
Against those who would tear everything down, he contextualized the genesis of Veritatis splendor and then defends it against the German attacks on theology which would have resulted in disaster. He has, surely, the papalotrous in mind.
Benedict includes in this piece, which rambles in and out of his familiar tropes, a poignant cri de coeur. And he calls for radical recovery of the love of God, our love for him and our recognition of His for us, and the establishment of “habitats of faith”, where Faith can dwell.
As I read it, I sensed Benedict’s great pain.