Monday 23 January 2017

Bruce Arnold: Pope's message on abuse is nonsensical and sad

Bruce Arnold

Published 21/12/2010 | 05:00

Pope Benedict XVI gives a blessing during the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings to the Curia, in the Regia Hall, at the Vatican, yesterday
Pope Benedict XVI gives a blessing during the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings to the Curia, in the Regia Hall, at the Vatican, yesterday

It is difficult to pinpoint quite where Pope Benedict is focusing his mind when he issues a statement such as that contained in his traditional, end-of-the-year speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops, publicly released yesterday.

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He claimed that, as recently as the 1970s, "paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children". He went on to state, as the context for this quite extraordinary interpretation of how paedophilia has been considered, that "there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a 'better than' and a 'worse than.' Nothing is good or bad in itself."

He could not have chosen a worse moment to have issued such a message on the great crime of the third millennium, nor to have framed it in such confused terms and with so many examples of passing the blame to society and current moral standards.

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