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  • Retired Pope Benedict was previously accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations.

    Retired Pope Benedict was previously accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 12 April 2019 (22 hours 12 minutes ago)

Benedict also added that, in that era, homosexual cliques existed in some of the Catholic church’s seminaries and the members "acted more or less openly."

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has come under fire after remarking, in a published 5,500-word document, that the "unprecedented radicalism in the 1960s" is to be blamed for decay in morality and, subsequently, rampant clerical sexual abuse against minors.   

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"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," Joshua McElwee, Vatican Correspondent at the National Catholic Reporter, criticized.

Benedict was previously accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations, allegations he denied.

In the lengthy letter, retired Pope Benedict said, in "wider social context of the question," the 1960s’ sexual revolution specifically led to pedophilia becoming "allowed and appropriate" and pornography acceptable.

"Catholic moral theology," Benedict noted, "suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society. ... [T]here could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative moral judgments. There no longer was the (absolute) good, but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances."

The former Pope said sexual films, images of nudity and "the clothing of that time" led to "mental collapse" and "violence."

Benedict also added that, in that era, homosexual cliques existed in some of the Catholic church’s seminaries and the members "acted more or less openly."

The former pontiff concluded that the "dissolution of the Christian concept of morality" came about as a result of a significant cultural shift which spanned a two-decade period.  

"It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely," Benedict wrote in the piece in Catholic magazine Klerusblatt.

Similar to the "shame and repentance" rhetoric of a 2018 letter, Benedict said the only way to stem sexual abuse is through "obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ."

In 2013, Benedict became the first pope to resign from the position in nearly 600 years and has largely remained out of the public sphere.

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