By Monsignor Giampaolo Crepaldi
ROME, MARCH 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The attempt of the press to implicate Benedict XVI in the question of pedophilia is only the most recent sign of the aversion that many have for the Pope.
It is necessary to ask oneself how this Pontiff, despite his evangelical meekness and honesty, the clarity of his words joined to the depth of his thought and of his teachings, arouses in some places sentiments of disgust and forms of anti-clericalism that it was believed had been surmounted. And this, it must be said, causes even greater astonishment and also distress when those who do not follow the Pope and criticize his alleged errors are men of the Church, whether theologians, priests or laymen.
The unheard of and clearly forced accusations of theologian Hans Kung against the person of Joseph Ratzinger, theologian, bishop, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and now Pontiff for having caused, according to him, the pedophilia of some ecclesiastics through his theology and magisterium on celibacy profoundly distress us. It never happened before that the Church was attacked in this way.
To the persecutions against many Christians, crucified in the literal sense in many parts of the world, to the many attempts to uproot Christianity in previously Christian societies with a devastating violence on the legislative and educational plane, and to customs that cannot be explained by good common sense, has been added for some time a fury against this Pope, whose providential greatness is before everyone’s eyes.
These attacks are echoed sadly by those who do not listen to the Pope, also among ecclesiastics, professors of theology in seminaries, priests and laymen. Those who do not accuse the Pontiff openly, but are deaf to his teachings, who do not read the documents of his magisterium, who write and say exactly the contrary of what he says, give life to pastoral and cultural initiatives, for example in the area of bioethics or in that of the ecumenical dialogue, in open diverge with all that he teaches. The phenomenon is very grave as it is very widespread.
Benedict XVI has given teachings on the Second Vatican Council that many Catholics reject openly, promoting forms of counter-formation and of systematic parallel teaching, led by many “anti-popes”; he has given teachings on “non-negotiable values” which very many Catholics minimize or reinterpret, and this also happens on the part of theologians and famous commentators guests of the Catholic press in addition to secular press; he has given teachings on the primacy of the apostolic faith in the wise reading of events and very many continue talking of the primacy of the situation, or of the practice, or of the data of human sciences; he has given teachings on conscience and on the dictatorship of relativism but very many put democracy or the Constitution before the Gospel. For many, “Dominus Iesus,” the Note of 2002 on Catholics in politics, the 2006 Regensburg address, “Caritas in Veritate,” is as if they had never been written.
The situation is serious, because the gap between the faithful who listen to the Pope and those who do not is spreading everywhere, even in diocesan seminaries and Institutes of Religious Sciences, and animates two pastoral programs that are very different in themselves, so that they almost no longer understand one another, as if they were the expression of two different Churches, causing insecurity and error in many faithful.
In these very difficult times, our Observatory feels the duty to express our filial closeness to Benedict XVI. We pray for him and remain faithful in following him.
[Translation by ZENIT]
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Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi of the Diocese of Trieste is the president of the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine of the Church.