In his sermon yesterday at Westminster, Ratzinger devoted two paragraphs to the crisis of abuse within his church, but it contained glaring omissions. Via The Guardian, the transcript:
I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.
I also acknowledge with you the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of victims, the purification of the church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people.
Three things missing:
ii.) A condemnation of not only the rapists themselves, but the officials in the church hierarchy who abbetted their violations by their passivity, slowness, or secrecy.
i.) The pronouns “I” and “my.” Ratzinger talks about the crisis “within the church,” as if everyone were somehow collectively responsible, and not only specific parties who actually committed the crimes, and those parties who propped up ineffective prosecuting policies and actively concealed abuse from civil authorities–both of which Ratzinger himself is responsible for, each on multiple occassions.
iii.) A promise for some concrete course of action. The rapists don’t need “chastisement.” They need prosecution to the fullest extent of their respective principality’s laws.