Echoing points he made in the United States, the pope told reporters that it's "essential for the church to reconcile [with victims], to prevent, to help, and also to see guilt in these problems." In a little-noticed coda, however, Benedict went a step further than he did in America, identifying a potential culprit underlying the crisis: a moral theory known as "proportionalism."
Here's what the pope said, in English, according to the official Vatican transcript of his remarks:
"We have to reflect on what was insufficient in our education, in our teaching in recent decades. There was, in the '50s, '60s and '70s, the idea of proportionalism in ethics: It held that nothing is bad in itself, but only in proportion to others. With proportionalism, it was possible to think for some subjects -- one could also be pedophilia -- that in some proportion they could be a good thing. Now, it must be stated clearly, this was never Catholic doctrine. There are things which are always bad, and pedophilia is always bad. In our education, in the seminaries, in our permanent formation of the priests, we have to help priests to really be close to Christ, to learn from Christ, and so to be helpers, and not adversaries of our fellow human beings, of our Christians." (My emphases)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Benedict XVI Nixes "Proportionalism"
In the hope and determination that a sex abuse crisis never again bring scandal and dishonor to the Church, John Allen reports, Benedict XVI examined factors that led to it in the first place.
Read all of Searching for the hows, whys of sex abuse