Religion

Pope Benedict XVI Suggests Pedophilia Was Acceptable in 1970s

| by Michael Allen

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI claimed that pedophilia wasn't considered an absolute evil as recently as the 1970s and that child pornography is increasingly considered "normal" by society.

"In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children," the Pope said.

"It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology - that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a 'better than' and a 'worse than'. Nothing is good or bad in itself."

The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached "an unimaginable dimension" which brought "humiliation" on the Church.

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The Pope called on senior clerics "to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred" and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.

"We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light," he said, citing the growth of child pornography "that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society" he said.

Pope Benedict also said sex tourism in the Third World was "threatening an entire generation".

"Catholics should be embarrassed to hear their Pope talk again and again about abuse while doing little or nothing to stop it and to mischaracterize this heinous crisis," said Barbara Blaine, the head of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

"It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal."

"The Pope insists on talking about a vague 'broader context' he can't control, while ignoring the clear 'broader context' he can influence - the long-standing and unhealthy culture of a rigid, secretive, all-male Church hierarchy fixated on self-preservation at all costs. This is the 'context' that matters."