Reading Francis Through Benedict: clerical sexual abuse

We continue to…

Read Francis Through Benedict.

Here is a communiqué from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. During the audience, various subjects pertaining to the Dicastery were discussed, the Holy Father recommended in particular that the Congregation, continue the line desired by Benedict XVI of decisive action regarding cases of sexual abuse, primarily by promoting measures for child protection; help for the many who in the past have suffered such violence; due process against those who are guilty; the commitment of Bishops’ Conferences in the formulation and implementation of the necessary directives in this area which is of great importance to the witness of the Church and its credibility. The Holy Father assured that the victims of abuse and their suffering are especially present in his thoughts and prayers.

So, Francis is brought up to date on what the CDF is doing which was entirely set in motion by Pope Benedict.

But liberals have been saying that Benedict didn’t do enough even as they praise Pope Francis as the great hope who will set everything to right again.

News media headlines read: FRANCIS ACTS DECISIVELY!  For example HERE.

But wait… Francis says “Keep doing what Benedict told you to do”.

Which is it?

We continue to ….

Read Francis Through Benedict.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Patrick-K says:

    I saw these headlines today… It’s sad how everything the man says is twisted like this. Naive people are led to think that Church leadership recommending “decisive action” is “news.” Well, no, decisive action, while still perhaps not 100% perfect in every way, has been ongoing for some time now. And that is why the rate of abuse in the last 10-15 years is very low. But you generally don’t hear about that.

  2. pawelthegreat says:

    Yeah, the media just keeps pitting Francis against Benedict unfortunately.
    Perhaps only time will show how much there is in common between these two holy men of God.
    The website clearly writes how Pope Francis intends to continue the Benedictine reforms/measures in regards to the sexual abuse crisis.

    And so we pray for them.

  3. Toan says:

    Could it possibly be that, because newsies like Pope Francis’ style and personality more than they like Pope Benedict’s style and personality, they are looking at everything Pope Francis says and does in a more positive light? We do know that style and personality have much more sway in pop culture than, perhaps, they should have.

    (Of course many will be disappointed when they don’t see doctrine changing, but perhaps they’ll be tempted to look on the bright side of the unchanging truth. Or maybe this is an optimistic fantasy.)

  4. I’m wary of anything the mainstream media supports.

  5. NBW says:

    The media is lazy and ignorant. They accept news stories from nebulous sources and don’t do their research. If they had done their research in this particular news story they would have found that it was Pope Benedict that acted decisively.

  6. dominic1955 says:

    The MSM hates the Church and, in general, seem to have a penchant for being lazy bores. Some of the garbage that comes out of “news” sources these days is pathetic. Its brain dead lefty propaganda served up at a middle school writing level. That people still listen to it just goes to show how stupid our society is.

  7. sirlouis says:

    It was the standard advice to students at university that if they couldn’t make it in one of the regular arts or sciences they could always major in education. But if they couldn’t even handle that, they could switch to journalism. And if they couldn’t meet the challenge of writing they could, as a last resort, major in television journalism. Nobody was stupid or ill-prepared enough to fail out of that.

  8. Pingback: Misunderstanding Popes | In Caelo et in Terra

  9. I am amazed that more people haven’t seen the problem.


    I post about some cosmetic thing and lots of people comment.

  10. Mary T says:

    I hope many of you are doing what I do, whenever I see this kind of thing: I call them on it. Whether it is a short blog post, a quick letter to the editor, or, in one case, writing to a Catholic university professor who was all over the news for saying that with B16 retired, we are in “uncharted territory” regarding infallibility with two popes – not knowing that it is connected to the OFFICE – we need to stop letting them get away with it, stop letting them dissemble with impunity.

    It can be done charitably, as in ” I know that as a journalist you value the integrity of your reporting; this is why I want to point out an inadvertent error you made” …whether it was inadvertent or not!

  11. mamajen says:

    It’s not just the media pitting Benedict against Francis, it’s our own side as well…and I think they are enabling the media to keep running with this Francis vs. Benedict meme by constantly focusing on the contrasts. Of course we have the liberal Catholics who think the way the media do, but at the other extreme we have Catholics who think basically nobody could top Benedict, and there’s something wrong with just about everything Francis says or does. And as much as they like to complain about the media, they blame all of the lies and false swooning on Francis instead of the media! I have noticed, though, that even on blogs that lean toward the more extreme traditional view, that if Pope Francis does something irrefutably good, there are “crickets” in the comment section.

    I think there’s something to be said for being a “company man” (a silly insult I saw elsewhere directed at priests and other prominent Catholics who aren’t criticizing Pope Francis enough) to a certain extent. We can’t sit here and complain about the media pitting the popes against each other while we do precisely the same thing (even if in the opposite direction)! “Reading Francis through Benedict” is a smart strategy, not wishful thinking.

    All that being said, at the end of the day how much does it really matter that the media twists things like this? They can sink political aspirations, but they can’t sink the papacy or the Church. They can’t change the fact that Benedict DID act decisively. They can’t change the fact that Benedict IS truly humble. God knows everything, and Benedict will be rewarded for all of his good work even if the world dismisses it. Some types of personalities get trampled, while others get credit and adulation that they really don’t deserve (which isn’t to say that they always seek it). That’s how our world is, but we’re supposed to live for something bigger than that.

  12. colwrite says:

    I agree mamajen. Thanks for that.
    Actually Pope Benedict did a lot about the sexual abuse crisis. A lot of people who criticize him actually have no clue because they read the big headlines but miss the mention of the symposium he held in Rome on the subject. Or the apostolic visit made to Ireland by some Cardinals like Cardinal Sean O ‘Malley. Or what he has changed and written. The thing is, it’s a big problem in a big world. Did you know some countries don’t even have laws against child sexual abuse? Change will not come overnight. But I think Benedict got us going in the right direction.
    And ,mamajen, call me a “company man.”

  13. Eraser says:

    I agree too. Of course Francis will continue Benedict’s work in this area and judging from what we’ve seen him do so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him meet personally with abuse victims just the way Benedict did. One of the things that first struck me about him was how often he referred to his predecessor and with such respect & admiration. Then after seeing them together, I wonder how anyone can consider him the “anti-Benedict?” I thought of something that I haven’t seen anyone discuss yet: the fact that Francis is Hispanic & Benedict is European (and German at that) is fueling the fire as well. Here in the States it’s become quite fashionable to dismiss much of European culture & history, one glaring example being higher education’s scorn of “the dead white guys.” Add to that the fact that the political and business sectors are courting our growing Hispanic population to an extent that has never been shown to any other ethnic group in our history and you catch my drift.

    Perhaps it’s just my opinion as a second-generation American & the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, but I doubt that I’m alone. In fact, I suspect that Francis himself is aware of it given how he emphasizes his Italian roots. Could it be that the Holy Spirit guided the choice of a Latin American as a bridge between the Old World and the New?

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