On his flight to Edinburgh, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists that the Church had not been “sufficiently vigilant” over clerical child abuse. Here is the full text.
First, I must say that these revelations have been a shock for me, not only a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible. The priest at the time of ordination, after having prepared for this moment for years, says yes to Christ, to be his voice, his mouth, his hands and serve Him with his whole life, so that the Good Shepherd who loves and helps and guides to the truth is present in the world. How a man who has done this and said this may also fall into this perversion is difficult to understand. It is a great sadness, a sadness that even the authority of the Church has not been sufficiently vigilant and not fast or decided enough in taking the necessary measures.
In his address to the Queen, Benedict XVI praised Britain’s Christian heritage, saying that throughout its lost history faith had been a “mighty force” for good. He praised how Britain stood against Nazi tyranny, saying:
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).
In his homily at Bellahouston Park, the Pope urged Scotland not to exclude believers from public life. He also invoked his much-quoted phrase, the “dictatorship of relativism”.
There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.
He saved his strongest words for young people, urging them to lead lives worthy of God and of themselves.
There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol. Which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.
There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society.