The Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer, urged the faithful this week to reject the media attacks on Pope Benedict XVI, emphasizing that the Church deeply “laments” the suffering of the victims caused by some members of the clergy.
In interview with the Brazilian daily, O Sao Paulo, the cardinal explained that the “Church does not deny, but infinitely laments the harm caused to some and to herself by her own members.
“The Church does not teach members to commit crimes, she does not approve of them or cover them up, and she is clear that each person must be accountable for his actions to God and to mankind’s laws.”
Referring to reports that Pope Benedict XVI was supposedly responsible for covering up some abuse cases, Cardinal Scherer said the media campaign against the Holy Father “is being pushed and orchestrated for unsaid reasons.”
“To make the entire Church and each priest guilty for the crimes committed by some is unjust,” he said. “On the other hand, it is necessary to recognize that, when certain ‘defects’ of the Church or her members are singled out, it is because there is an expectation that she and each of her members act and think in a way that clearly and discernibly bears witness to the high values and ideals she believes in and preaches,” the cardinal said.
“Unfortunately I have the impression that there is also an organized attempt to make the Pope personally responsible for these evils,” he added.
Asked about one local report claiming that the Holy See will be training new exorcists to combat the sexual abuse within the Church, Cardinal Scherer responded calling the speculation, “sensationalist.”
The prelate noted that although the Church has “never stopped teaching that the devil exists,” and she “has always maintained the rite of exorcism,” there has not been a “special recommendation by the Pope to increase exorcisms in the Church ... to resolve the sexual abuse scandals.”
“That’s ridiculous,” he said.
Noting that the solution to this problem lies in personal conversion, Cardinal Scherer encouraged Catholics “not to be carried away by the ‘marketing’ of religion and of our faith. Our task is to courageously and intensely promote the proclamation of the truth and the formation of consciences in light of the truth of the Word of God and the righteousness of the moral law.”