Loading
Benedict XVI confronting 'self-destruction' of society, says French historian
Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- In an article published yesterday by L’Osservatore Romano, historian and member of the Institute of France, Alain Besançon, offered an analysis of the first five years of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. He noted that the media campaign against the Holy Father and the Church reveals a hatred for Christianity, and that the Pope is confronting the “self-destruction” of society, nature and reason.

“Benedict XVI has fought untiringly for clarity and accuracy.  For him there is nothing more dangerous than the relativism that is fused with modern democratic society: any organized group can legitimize an opinion merely because it is their opinion without the need to support it with reason,” Besançon said. 

After praising the Holy Father for “restoring intelligence to the heart of the Church,” the French historian referred to two “accidents of this pontificate.”  The first was the Pope’s discourse at Regensburg, Germany: “It was very scholarly, moderate, benevolent, but it caused very violent reactions.”

“The disproportionate reaction,” he explained, “revealed above all the dramatic ignorance of the clergy and the faithful about the message of Islam, and undoubtedly about their own (faith), because you can understand one without the other.  Thus there is an absolute need for re-directing Christian knowledge.”

The second “accident,” Besançon said, has to do with the media attacks on the Pope and the Church, which aim to portray the Holy Father as covering up the abuse committed by some members of the clergy, when that has never been the case.

The French historian also made two observations, one about societal history and the other about the Church's understanding of the relationship between sins and crimes.

In the last 50 years, he explained, the definition of sexual crimes has undergone a transformation, with many consensual acts that beforehand were punished severely now often being considered a right. All of the outrage over the sexual crimes of the past is now concentrated completely on the act of pedophilia, Besançon suggested.

Second, he said, is the fact that the Church sees a distinction in how it treats sins and crimes.  “The Church does not forgive crime, it leaves to the judge the task of punishing it, but the assessment of sin falls to her and is under her jurisdiction. She has the keys to bind or to loose it.” 

Besançon went on to say that the Church holds that man is a sinner and that reality is present in all of her prayers. 

“There exists thus a strange prejudice that causes us to be surprised by the fact that some men, merely because they have embraced the clerical state, are not different or necessarily better than anyone else.  Up to now no one has found out how to make men into something other than what they are: proud, greedy, lustful, angry, sinners always. They do not cease to be such just because they undergo a psychological or medical exam beforehand,” he said.

However, he argued, this does not “prevent the media campaign from dragging with it things that will never be accepted: marriage for priests, the ordination of married men, and other such things.”

These things “reveal hatred for the Christian name or a loss of authority and trust in the Catholic Church,” Besançon said.  “In any case, the Pope must bear the brunt of this confusion.  After five years, to me his pontificate is sorrowful.”

“John Paul II fought against a monstrous political regime: Communism, but he had society and all of humanity on his side.  Benedict XVI has the whole of modern society, born out of the crisis of the 60s, with its new morality and new religiosity, against him.”

Pope Benedict “finds himself in a situation similar to that of Paul VI after Vatican II, in confronting what he called ‘the self-destruction’ of the Church.  This time the self-destruction is of all of society, nature and reason.  The glory of his pontificate is not visible: it is that of martyrdom.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
18

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14