Countering critics of Benedict XVI’s recent essay on the scandal of sex abuse in the Church, Cardinal Gerhard Müller on Friday emphasized that Church renewal must be centered on Christ and his teaching.
“Rebuilding and renewing the whole Church can only succeed in Christ—if we get our bearings by the Church’s teaching on faith and morals,” the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in an essay published April 26 at First Things.
Benedict’s essay looked at the abuse crisis in the context of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the concurrent collapse in moral theology, and their effect on priestly life and formation. Some responded to his thoughts as though he were setting himself against Pope Francis.
Müller reflected that “Benedict was and is the most important figure in the Church’s fight against this crisis,” given his role in drafting the Church’s 2001 norms on the gravest of crimes: “He has the widest view of and deepest insight into this problem, its causes and history.”
Benedict, he said, “is in a better position than all the blind who want to lead other blind people,” and he added that critics of the emeritus pope “lack respect and are ideologically blinded.”
The Vatican summit on abuse of minors and the Church “should have signaled the beginning of getting to the roots of the evil of abuse,” which is necessary for the Church to be credible, he said. “Unfortunately, the practical conclusions drawn from this assembly have not yet been made public, so the U.S. Bishops’ Conference cannot yet put its suspended measures into practice.”
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