Pope Benedict Retiring?

Ever Wonder What Goes On In “Vatican City”?

Pope Benedict Retiring?

La Repubblica Italy’s newspaper with the country’s largest circulation caused an uproar from the Vatican when it posted stories hinting at the real reasons for the Pope’s resignation Thursday and Friday.

The newspaper stories center on an investigation last year by three cardinals into a scandal involving leaks from the Vatican.  Repubblica is reporting an unnamed source who is familiar with the investigation revealed a series of scandals involving sex, money and power.  Involved are Cardinals, priests, and lay people who work inside the Vatican.  The articles also discuss the position of gay priests within the confines of the compound.

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said it was “deplorable” that as the time for the Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope approaches, a rash of “often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories” has appeared.

Such unfounded stories “cause serious damage to persons and institutions,” he said, and are an attempt to influence the cardinals’ free will in the election “through public opinion.”

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said:  The pope may well have been worn down by the “cumulative impact of the various meltdowns over the last eight years,”

“However,” he added, “it’s probably a stretch to draw a straight line between all of this and Benedict’s resignation. For the most part, one has to take the pope at his word: He’s stepping aside because he’s old and tired, not because of any particular crisis.”

But the Catholic Church is in ‘crisis’.  Continued claims of sexual misconduct by priests in different levels of the hierarchy point blame at the “CEO’s” of each dioceses, the Cardinals, for not divulging the truth and extent of the charges.

Raised Catholic myself, and having been an altar boy, I don’t believe I ever witnessed improper actions by our parish priests.  But, I have no doubt that time will uncover tens of thousands of cases of sexual misconduct by men of the cloth all over the world.

The Catholic Church is the only major religion that forbids its priests to marry.  For centuries they have denied a basic need of life, consensual sexual relations between adults.

Priests often recruit young men in their early teens for a future in the priesthood.  The physical urge may be overshadowed by the rigorous training required to achieve their goal, and the almost “mystical” or “supernatural” ambiance of seminary life.  But the internal pressure to satisfy the biological need for sexual release will surface.

I am not defending the deplorable actions of far too many numbers of those who are trusted and revered by the members of their parish.  And certainly not all priests act upon their inclinations.  However, above all I blame the antiquated rules of the Church itself.

As one priest confided to me years ago;  “If a married couple is having problems, they are told to come to me for guidance.  How am I supposed to give them advice if I’ve never lived the life they lead?”

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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