11th April 2019
Ex-Pope Benedict XVI blames 1960s revolution for sex abuse
Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the "all-out sexual freedom" of the 1960s.
He said that cultural and historical change had led to a "dissolution" of morality in Catholicism.
The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed.
The letter sparked fierce criticism from theologians who claim it is "deeply flawed".
Vatican expert Joshua McElwee said in the National Catholic Reporter: "It does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict's own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican's powerful doctrinal office."
Some allegations of child sex abuse by priests that have emerged date back to decades before the 1960s, the decade that Pope Benedict claims sparked the abuse crisis.
Julie Rubio, a Catholic theologian, said in a tweet that the letter was "profoundly troubling".
It is rare for Pope Benedict, who in 2013 was the first to resign in almost 600 years, to intervene in clerical matters. He had been accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations, allegations he denied.
The only solution to the problem, the former Pope said, was "obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ".
At a summit in February, the current pontiff called for "concrete measures" to tackle the crisis, not just "simple and obvious condemnations".
As he had "served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the church" when more cases emerged, Pope Benedict said he wanted to "contribute to a new beginning".
Published in the German Catholic magazine Klerusblatt, the 5,500-word letter is divided into three parts.