Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe? Should he be investigated for cases of abuse that occurred under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer? Should the pope resign?
Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on March 26, 2010 1:13 PM
How long will people continue to turn for moral authority to a body that has failed to live up to its promise to protect its most vulnerable members? How can the faithful look to the Church for guidance if the Church neglects to courageously and proactively address its own darkest wounds?
The question of whether Pope Benedict XVI should resign is, frankly, silly, because it assumes guilt where none has been proven or even credibly asserted. Joseph Ratzinger has been more involved than any other senior churchman in confronting what he once called the "filth" in the Church; when might that fact begin to frame some of the coverage of the Pope and the Church?
Posted by George Weigel, on March 31, 2010 3:36 PM
The week will be remembered as the moment when a Catholic Church crisis that had gained notoriety in several countries, starting with the U.S. in 1985, suddenly emerged as a global issue and reached the Pope himself.
Posted by Terry McKiernan, on March 31, 2010 10:41 AM
Pope Benedict XVI may not need to resign in light of the current scandal swirling around the Roman Catholic church, but he sure needs to show leadership. The entire situation is painful to learn about, but what is most troubling...
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on March 31, 2010 8:52 AM
The silencing and gagging of victims in the name of protecting the church hierarchy at all costs, even if that cost includes the ongoing suffering of children and the Catholic faithful, is stunning. Despicable. Unbelievable. Incomprehensible. And truly, truly heartbreaking.
Posted by Donna Freitas, on March 31, 2010 7:06 AM
Should Benedict resign? No. He should do what a good father would do: Root out the filth in his house, acknowledge the church's past failings frankly and let his flock know, in both word and action, that he shares their fury at these unspeakable crimes and their resolve that they never be repeated.
Posted by Colleen Carroll Campbell, on March 30, 2010 7:25 PM
The pope is now reaping some of the fruits of the narrow-minded approach to life that he has promoted for decades, an approach that may have benefited some, but has hurt countless others both inside and outside the Church.
Church and state are separate, except when the church decides to reach beyond that wall we hold so dear. And when innocent children and the faithful flock are horribly scarred, any church, temple or mosque can consider its privilege lost.
The purging that is about to happen in Rome is a necessary and long overdue thing. The sad fact is that the longer it drags on, there will be a dark cloud sitting over Catholics. Benedict should resign.
The claim that Cardinal Ratzinger was more theologian than manager, his attention captured by the intricacies of doctrine, not the activities of those under his leadership, actually undermines his moral authority, by suggesting that he put intellectual fascination ahead of his duty as a leader of leaders.
Posted by Daniel C. Dennett, on March 29, 2010 3:44 PM
In Roman Catholic polity (at least since the Middle Ages), the pope is accountable to no one - except, presumably, to God. We can only hope - and, for the sake of the victims, pray - that Benedict finally, all these years later, does the right thing.
Posted by Randall Balmer, on March 29, 2010 12:59 PM
I don't know what the Pope should do, but I know that hiding behind the mantle of victimhood at moments such as these is what brings down communities and their sacred institutions. The "rock upon which the Church is built" could crumble if the Vatican doesn't figure that out soon
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on March 28, 2010 4:42 PM
A more interesting question for me is whether legal action can be taken against a pope. Unfortunately, not only is the pope immune from prosecution under Vatican law, it appears that he also enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution under international law as a head of state. Such is the result when church and state meld.
Posted by Herb Silverman, on March 27, 2010 4:02 PM
The Church has been embarrassed and shamed enough by clergy sex scandal disclosures before. If the Pope recognizes that mistakes were made, he should make apologies and amends. If he recognizes that he was the one who made the mistakes, he should similarly clear the air and, using his best Latin, cry "mea culpa."
it appears this Pope is trying to work through a problem that was not adequately addressed by previous regimes. In as large an organization as the Roman Catholic Church, with its dense network of power relationships.