Benedict XVI falls victim of celibacy?
The abdication of the head of the Roman Catholic Church Benedict XVI is almost an unprecedented event in the history of Western Christianity. The only historically similar event was renunciation of Pontiff Gregory XII in 1415. In the Middle Ages this event had to do with nothing but politics, while now the problems of the Catholic Church are much more complicated.
Gregory XII headed the Holy See in 1406. At the time, the Catholic world for decades had been affected by the "Great Western Schism" where representatives of the influential church and political groups were fighting for the commanding heights of the Roman Church. The split caused a mass protest among the clergy and the congregation. After ascending to the throne, Pope Gregory XII declared that he was ready to renounce the papacy if his influential rival, Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, did the same.
Famous cardinals, King Charles VI of France and the University of Paris faculty tried to play a peacekeeping role. A meeting of the two Popes was scheduled in the Italian city of Savona. The competing Popes arrived surrounded by numerous armed supporters. The negotiations failed in the very beginning.
The failure of the church leadership to reach a compromise caused growing frustration of the European political elite. Royal courts, one after another, rejected support of Rome represented by Gregory XII, and Avignon represented by Benedict XIII. In an attempt to save the situation, College of Cardinals came into play. It convened the Cathedral of Pisa in 1409 attended by influential cardinals, bishops, representatives of the royal courts and universities. Neither Gregory XII nor Benedict XIII attended the Cathedral. This was the last straw, and both Popes were declared schismatics. A new Pope was elected, Cardinal Peter Filarg, a native of Crete. He took the name Alexander V.
However, the Cathedral of Pisa has not eliminated but only deepened the split. Not two, but three Popes began fighting for leadership in the Catholic Church. The situation in Western Christianity reached a critical point, and only the Ecumenical Council could show the way out of the crisis. It was convened at the initiative of a group of cardinals of the German and Hungarian King Sigismund, bishops of major dioceses, and representatives of the educated strata of society.
A Cathedral convened in 1414 in the German city of Constance restored the unity of the Catholic Church, despite the fact that Benedict XIII refused to abdicate. He was deposed and excommunicated. The Constance Council elected Pope Oddone Colonna, who took the name Martin V. Gregory XII abdicated and retained the title of cardinal. He retired in the Italian city of Ancona and died shortly thereafter.
Nearly 400 years later Pope Benedict XVI was awarded the title. What prompted the Pope to such an extraordinary act as an abdication?
A columnist of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica Conchita De Gregorio suggested her own explanation. She wrote that not that long ago, three Cardinals prepared for Benedict XVI a report on the investigation into the controversial online resource Vatileaks, which suggests the existence of the Vatican lobby of perverts.
The columnist wrote that in October of last year, Benedict XVI addressed the crowd of young people from the organization "Catholic Action."
He said that 50 years ago, he, just like them, was in the square, listened to the Pope's speech, full of poetry and good intentions. He said they were happy then, full of enthusiasm, confident that the new spring for church was coming. Today happiness was more modest, more restrained, as in 50 years everyone realized that human weakness was present in the Church.
On that October day, no one knew what the Pope said, the article mentioned. No one knew that two days before Benedict XVI had another meeting with Julián Herranz, a 83-year-old Spanish Cardinal, who asked the Pope to lead the Inquiry Commission on the Vatileaks. Herranz regularly briefed the Pope about dozens of surveys carried out among the prelates, cardinals and congregation in Italy and abroad. This information was being reviewed. The Pope in October reported the discovery of a network of people based on sexual orientation. For the first time the word "homosexuality" was uttered in the papal apartments.
According to the journalist of La Repubblica, on December 17th, 2012 three Cardinals gave the Pope two volumes of classified documents under the title "The split in the church denigrating its image." A few days later the Pope again met with the three cardinals, and said to them: "I'm old; what I've already done is enough." He said nearly the same in February of this year.
Conchita De Gregorio concluded that Benedict XVI would give the results of the commission's work to the new Pope who must be strong, young and more "holy" to take on the work that is in store for him.
The investigation of the Italian journalist can be viewed from different angles. On the one hand, La Repubblica is a "left" newspaper, which in the West automatically assumes anticlerical orientation. Besides, this is one of the most popular newspapers in Italy and does not shy away from sensationalism.
On the other hand, the article in La Repubblica brought memories of the revelatory articles in English-language newspapers of the Old and the New World a decade ago, when the Catholic Church was shaken by scandals involving pervert clergy.
In 2004, a powerful person in the Roman Catholic Church, the former archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law, "retired". The decision to leave was made after a court hearing where he was accused of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics of his diocese, The Sunday Times reported.
According to the newspaper, the hearing touched upon the report of the Vatican's top leadership, prepared in the late 1970s by a team led by a Catholic psychiatrist from Minnesota Dr. Conrad Baars. The report spoke of a "psychosexual time bomb." The document was introduced to the members of the Synod of Bishops in 1971, including Cardinal Law and the deceased head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, who at the time was Bishop of Krakow.
According to the report, a quarter of the ministers of the Roman Church were individuals with apparent mental disorders. The vast majority of the Catholic clergy has been recognized by psychiatrists as emotionally unstable. These numbers are not random, but taken from the medical records of over a thousand of Catholic priests in the UK and the U.S. who at various times were treated by psychiatrists. In general, in the United States and Western Europe at least 15 percent of Catholic ministers may be considered mentally healthy, Dr. Baars said in his report. 25 percent of the clergy of the Roman Church had "serious psychiatric problems," and 60-70 percent of the Catholic clergy suffered from emotional disorders. The report called for Vatican leadership to scrutinize the individuals' desire to become priests.
The recommendations were ignored, the report got lost in the Vatican archives and surfaced in the wake of allegations of many Catholic priests of the New World of pedophilia. Dr. Baars died in 1981.
The "providential" nature of the historical report was mentioned in 2005 by a Catholic lawyer, American Tom Doyle. In support of the thesis of the late Dr. Baars the lawyer provided the statistics of sexual crimes committed by the bishops of the Roman church over the preceding decades in the U.S. The statistics is impressive: over 15 years in the U.S. there were 200 trials and 1,800 administrative proceedings regarding unhealthy sexual preferences of Catholic priests.
The New York Post reported that 34 Americans sued the district of Long Island demanding a compensation of $1 billion from the local diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The plaintiffs demanded compensation for moral and physical damage caused to them as children by priests. Another plaintiff, 50-year-old John Salveson, complained that back in 1980 he sent a letter to then-Bishop John McGann with a complaint against a priest Robert Hyuneke who sexually abused him as a child. Despite the claim, Bishop McGann had been transferring the Holy Father from parish to parish for nine years.
Following the reports of the claims against the Catholic Church in the American press, the voices of the victims of the Long Island were joined by 11 other people, whose interests were represented by attorney Melanie Little of Garden City. As in the first case, the plaintiffs accused the leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States of ignoring the complaints about clergy sexually abusing children in Catholic schools and churches. Among the defendants was Bishop William Murphy, who was charged with indecent of children abuse, and a former vice-chancellor of the diocese Monsignor Alan Placa, accused of inaction.
The New York Post reported that the Commission of the Supreme Court of Suffolk County concluded that the diocese was more concerned with protecting itself and its personnel from the trial than helping children victims.
However, these are internal problems of the Catholic Church. Orthodox Christians can happily observe them from a safe distance.