Benedict Unrepentant

As Pope Francis has charmed the globe, the former Pope has been corresponding with Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian mathematician and philosopher, on a whole range of topics. I haven’t been able to get an English translation and cannot find one online (if a reader has one, I’d be most obliged). Maybe the reported fragments lack important context, but they sound like Benedict to me, especially on the long, horrifying child-rape conspiracy from the Vatican on down, over which he had total control and unique knowledge from 2001 onwards.

To give some obvious, glaring examples of his complicity: despite sitting on mounds of evidence of the crimes of Marcial Maciel for years, Benedict waited and waited to act, and refused to talk in public about the matter, while Maciel went on to rape even his own son; he also helped give refuge to Cardinal Law, one of the most heinous cover-up artists in the whole disgusting saga; he even personally ensured that the man who raped over 200 deaf boys at St John’s School for the Deaf, Father Murphy, was allowed to retire in peace in the “dignity” of his priesthood.  And yet Benedict is still capable of telling his interlocutor:

I never tried to cover up these things.

Seriously. But to me, the most egregious statement is the following:

That the power of evil penetrates to such a point in the interior world of the faith is, for us, a source of suffering. On the one hand we must accept that suffering, and on the other, at the same time, we must do everything possible so that such cases aren’t repeated.

Notice who is suffering here. Not the children, but the Church. “We must accept that suffering,” he goes on, in what can only be called obscene narcissism. Did the thousands of children who were raped in the past also have to “accept that suffering”? And notice too, even now, rather than prostrate contrition, we get this institutional reflex:

It’s also not a motive for comfort to know that, according to sociological research, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than in other comparable professional categories. In any event, one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism.

Even now, this is a point he insists on making? And he still cannot say what his successor said first of all: “I am a sinner.”