Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Third Secret of Fatima

The Pope Speaks. Scott Richert reports:
Strangely, though, the secular media paid little attention to a rather interesting exchange during the Holy Father's press conference on his way to Portugal on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. This lack of attention is all them more remarkable considering that it concerned the only Catholic topic that the media seems interested in these days: clerical sexual abuse.

Here's how the Vatican Information Service reported the exchange in a press release on May 12:
The third question put to the Pope concerned the significance of the apparitions of Fatima and whether the third secret, apart from referring to the shooting of John Paul II, also referred to the Church's suffering for the sexual abuse of minors. "Apart from the great vision of the Pope's suffering, which we can primarily ascribe to Pope John Paul II", said Pope Benedict, the apparitions "indicate events of the future of the Church, which develop and are revealed little by little. Thus it is true that, apart from the moment indicated by the vision, we see the need for a passion of the Church, a passion naturally reflected in the person of the Pope, but the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is the sufferings of the Church that are being announced" [emphasis mine].
"As for the novelties we can discover in this message today", he went on, "we may see that attacks against the Pope and the Church do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of the Church come from inside the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church [emphasis mine]. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church [emphasis mine]. Thus the Church has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice" [emphasis mine].
These are the strongest and most direct remarks from Pope Benedict XVI since the media firestorm over decades-old allegations of clerical sexual abuse kicked off in the final weeks of Lent. And even though they clearly do what the media has argued that the Holy Father has failed to do—take responsibility for the scandal, in a "the buck stops here" way, while acknowledging the source of sinfulness inside the Church—the media has remained strangely silent.
Where are the headlines that say, "Pope Says Sin Exists in Church"; "Pope: Forgiveness Does Not Replace Justice"; "Church Must Relearn Penance, Pope Declares"? The lack of reporting is perhaps the most obvious proof that the attacks on the Holy Father in recent months were not about justice but about undermining both his personal authority and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

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