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Pope ‘understands’ criticism of his handling of abuse crisis, says author

By on Friday, 8 October 2010

Pope Benedict XVI “understands” the criticism that he did “too little, too late” in response to the clerical abuse crisis, according to the author of a new book about the Pontiff.

The author, Peter Seewald, a German journalist, was recently granted a series of interviews with Pope Benedict which will form the basis of his next book Licht der Welt, or Light of the World. The book, which is being written in German, will be released on November 24 in 10 languages.

He told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair: “The Pope seemed very understanding of the criticism that he did too little, too late about the sex scandals, but the book certainly sheds new light on the whole issue and debate.”

But Mr Seewald said it was unlikely that victims of abuse will find anything revelatory in his book. He said: “For victims of the sex scandals in the Church, I do not think this book will shed light on many issues, and may be consoling to an extent. Of course, it won’t undo things that have been done and it’s no way of excusing what has happened.”

Mr Seewald, who had already written two interview books on the Pope while he was still a cardinal – Salt of the Earth in 1996 and God and the World in 2000 – was recently allowed one hour every day for a week with Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence.

The author, who said his book will “go down in history”, pointed out that his book is likely to discomfort some people. “I believe many people will be shocked at the way Benedict XVI is portrayed in the book. Many people may not like it and many people may not believe it,” he said.

About the Pope, Mr Seewald said: “He’s not a lone ruler and has not got the hard shell many people think he does. He’s a servant, not necessarily a knight or a ruler.”

“He still has so much energy and life. He is so disciplined. His secret recipe for this, he says, is to live each day only with the pressures of that day and not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday.”

  • Ratbag

    Mr Seewald and Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) have met and spoken many times, so it is obvious to me that the Holy Father trusts him enough to be impartial in his interviews with him.

    That's the stuff.

    Personally, it doesn't worry me that there will be a 'shock' or 'discomfort' element in the book. If there were, we'd have found out about it by now, knowing what the media is like here!

    I think the nicest 'shock' is that it isn't His Holiness that's a 'villain in a frock'

    … but a description of Richard Dawkins' choice of fancy dress for a Hallowe'en party!

  • Saunders9

    What I don't understand about the sexual abuse is, 'Why aren't these priest brought to justice?' I think the problem is a a false sense of 'forgiveness.' We have to forgive these priests but they do need to be brought to justice and I haven't read anything about this happening. All that will happen is Catholics will leave the Church because I can't defend the Church against the perceived inaction. All I'm seeing is a Church cover up to save it's face. I fear for the Church's future because the Church is not handling this abuse scandal, it's saying sorry, meet a few abuse victims, but there is no action. And if there is no action children will continue to be abused. May be I'm missing something but that is how I perceive it, and perception counts for a lot. But I will not hang around in a Church that does nothing about clerical abuse.

  • wondering

    Befor we can say anything let´s read the book first.
    @ Saunders9 : What you say is not correct. the problem is, that the juridications in every country is different. What the pope can do, ha has already done. He create better regulations. This regulation are handling the problem very well. What should he still doing more ? He could do more earlier, but he was ristrikted by Pope John Paul 2 because he was responsible at that time. JP 2 had a friend named Marciel. On the other hand JP2 was a politcal pope. He didn´t need problems like that, because he want `s to change communism states into states of democracie. The problem know is, that Pope Benedict can´t say this officialy and so he is willing to take the guilt of John Paul2 to himself.