JANUARY 3, 2023
This week, the Vatican will lead a global memorial and celebration, honoring the life and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. You will travel to Vatican City for his funeral, and in doing so, you will be acknowledging the historical, political, and social power of the Catholic Church. Meanwhile millions of clergy abuse victims around the world will be forced to witness what will likely be a rewriting of history concerning the legacy and actions of a man who is directly and partly responsible for decades of widespread and systematic rape and sexual abuse of children in the church.
Throughout most of his professional life, Pope Benedict XVI was one the chief architects of the cover-up of abuse in the Catholic Church. As Archbishop of Munich, he concealed and transferred known abusive clergy and until his death misled investigators and the public about his direct responsibility for it. As head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) under John Paul II, he acted as the Pope’s chief global fixer for 23 years, shielding bishops from criminal, civil, and moral accountability for conducting themselves the way he did when Archbishop of Munich. After a short time as Pope, history finally caught up with him, and he resigned before the full extent of his role in these crimes had emerged. After his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI had almost ten years to make amends for his actions. He failed to do so.
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