Saturday, 3 April 2010

Don't Fire the Pope

The following is from an interview I gave several days ago to an American radio station:

The recent media hype surrounding the Catholic Church includes calls for Pope Benedict to resign. Should he? There are currently two known cases that connect Benedict personally to abuse. As Archbishop of Munich and Freising, he did not prevent the reassignment of a paedophile priest and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he acquiesced to the request of an abusive priest and thwarted his defrocking.

Up to now, nothing has come to light that would suggest that Benedict had ever abused anyone or that he knowingly allowed abuse to take place. Indeed, no malice can be ascribed to either Benedict or to most other senior Church figures.

Instead of evil, what we have is total blindness: Blindness to what is important and what is not. In other words, their values were corrupted. Sadly, the brutal end result is the same as if they had been evil.

There is no doubt that Benedict is guilty. He is guilty of being not only part of the machine but also an important, significant and formative part the Catholic Church machine: A machine that had systematically allowed abuse to take place under its auspices. A machine that has a history of acting evilly in other spheres of life too. But Benedict is not guilty of abuse; it is the Catholic Church that is guilty. Therefore it is not a personal resignation that we need but rather a total change in the way this institution operates.

We should ask ourselves what had enabled such corrupt values to thrive in an institution that is all about love and hope, an institution that considers itself to be a lighthouse to humanity. The Pope’s resignation would cause an earthquake within the Catholic Church. Such an earthquake could be helpful. Yet, it might not necessarily produce the change we need. Let there be no doubt, society would have closed this institution had it been secular. Those who run the Catholic Church should be aware of the risk in not making the necessary changes.


  1. Ratzinger is guilty as hell. His greatest guilt is that he accepted the role of pope knowing the full extent of what was going on. But look at him now, at his eyes, that are dead, at his body language. He is a robot, a prisoner, they will sooner kill him than let him confess, than let him abdicate and he knows that too. He is to be pitied, he is their hostage. This is his punishment.

  2. I don't think that firing the pope will solve anything. It will only be a good excuse to say "we took care of things" and now everything is ok and the story should go off the air. "

  3. Thanks for the blogs and don’t let the Pope of the hook so quickly.

  4. Is resignation even an option on the table? I mean, realistically?

    Here's my take:

  5. Interesting Mr Ranan. I must read your book - which was recommended to me by a gentleman in Crete who thought it was brilliant.
    My feeling is that the sexual abuse of children is not a recent problem, but probably goes back hundreds of years to when the RCChurch was burning and torturing dissenters and others who didn't toe the line. As there was no media back then - and the church all powerful, it must have been absolute hell for any children caught in its net.

  6. Thank you, Rongoklunk.

    I would be interested to hear your opinion once you have read "Double Cross: The Code of the Catholic Church".