It’s Not Our Fault


Former Pope Benedict XVI

Former Pope Benedict has blamed the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal on the effects of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and a general collapse in morality…

“Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms,” he wrote…

He said the spread of explicit sex education for young schoolchildren and nudity in advertising had contributed to a loosening of moral bearings.


The former pontiff said the sexual revolution had led to homosexuality in Catholic establishments.

He said paedophilia did not become “acute” until the late 1980s and was caused by “absence of God”.


Published in the German Catholic magazine Klerusblatt, the 5,500-word letter is divided into three parts.

The first part laments the 1960s as a time when “previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely”.

Next, the letter examines how the sexual revolution affected priests, creating “homosexual cliques” in seminaries.

The letter concludes with the solution that “we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto Him”

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI blames 1960s revolution for sex abuse (BBC)

Sexual revolution of 1960s led to Church abuse crisis, ex-pope says (irish Times)

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96 thoughts on “It’s Not Our Fault

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    Ole Benny Ratz, refusing to die because he knows he’s going to hell for his protection and validation of paedophiles under his care.

    Those damn, sexy children giving those poor priests caught up in the sexual revolution come hither looks.

    Die you old paedo apologist. Die in a fire.

  2. newsjustin

    In no way does he say sexual abuse is not the fault of perpetrators, enablers and mismanagement of superiors in the church. He is explicitly describing in his essay how the many churchmen involved, like others of that generation, entirely lost their moorings and somehow imagined that the sexual abuse of children was not the monstrous crime and sin that it is.

    It’s obvious that, for some, no explanation for sexual abuse by catholics will do other than “because they were catholics”. This might scratch the itch of hating the church, but it doesn’t provide any actual insight.

      1. newsjustin

        I must say, the airplane thing confused me too. But then I didn’t live in the 1960s.

        1. Cian

          in-flight movies started in the 60s (according to Wikipedia) in the US. I’d imagine that they would only have shown G-rated films – the Americans are very Puritanical. Violence is okay, but sex is forbidden.

          First movie to be show was “By Love Possessed”

    1. Nilbert

      can you read? he blamed it on the sex education of children.

      “He said the spread of explicit sex education for young schoolchildren and nudity in advertising had contributed to a loosening of moral bearings”

      1. newsjustin

        Yes. I can read the whole document. Not just a snippet on a website.

        I won’t try to summarise his thoughts, but as I read it, he explains the sexual abuse by catholic clergy in a complete rupture and breakdown with the churches traditional moral teaching and discipline. This was mirroring what was happening in western society as a whole in late 1960s.

        The scandal is not just that sexual abuse happened, it’s that some people somehow reasoned it as being not such a big deal. They did not get that idea from traditional catholic moral theology. They got that idea from the notion of anything-goes sexual liberation emerging throughout the 60s.

        1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

          All they cared about was (is?) power. Everyone knows it’s wrong, morally.

        2. Cú Chulainn

          Except the abuse has been happening since long before the 1960’s. Although, without a doubt he is right about the changes in our relationship with our sexuality: we started to talk about and deal with the sexual abuse. Well, some of us anyway.

          1. Rapscallion

            In the Middle Ages, Priest and Paedophile were synonymous. As far as I can remember, they happened some time before the 60’s?! This is not a new thing. People not putting up with it is. Perhaps that’s what comes out of the 60’s sexual revolution.

    2. bisted

      …you seem in denial that paedophiles deliberately choose religious careers so they could prey on children with impunity…Ratzo may be right in a way…the sexual revolution helped some victims speak out against their abusers…depite the efforts of cardinal ‘wounded healer’ and virtually all the bishops, some of the victims could no longer be silenced…

  3. millie st murderlark

    Well fupp him with a blunt spear.

    I have personally seen the damage done by the RCC and their ‘servants’ and it is irreparable. Two childhoods stolen and two people who will never be the same.

    1. newsjustin

      Millie. Have you read his essay?

      If so, what, specifically, is wrong with his assessment of how abusers flourished in the church from the 60s to the 90s? What made them do it? Why did they feel like they wouldn’t be caught and they weren’t doing anything so bad? If you read the essay, you’ll see that that is what BXVI is trying to address.

      As Broadsheet hasn’t linked to his actual (translated) text, here it is

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        They flourished because they were allowed to by Benny Ratz and JP the patron saint of abusers.

        1. newsjustin

          I think you over estimate the amount of micro management of individual priests that a pope does. But certainly some Bishops did allow it to happen, you are right. That’s what BXVI says. And the Bishops allowed them, and other priests covered for them, because sexual abuse was seen by them (as well as many on the left, politically) as part of a brave new world of sexual liberation. Where the age of consent was seen as anathema to the brave new world of 60s/70s liberation.

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            news normally I respect your point of view but this should be too much of a stretch even for you
            I’m embarrassed for you

          2. newsjustin

            Thanks Janet.

            Have you read BXVI’s essay? Or just skimmed the headlines and remembered that we’re supposed to think he’s a bad guy?

            If you’ve read it, what, specifically is incorrect in his analysis? I accept entirely that not everyone will agree on everything he, or anyone else, says. But why is he so wrong that I should be embarrassed to consider it worthy of consideration?

          3. Janet, I ate my avatar

            I take umbrage to the act it is again making excuses, blaming sexual liberation ( particularly female in the 60’s with the A
            advent of proper contraception) as some kind of confusing atmosphere for individuals who are for a start sworn to celebate life, never mind one messing with non sexual beings and by that I mean children.

          4. Lush

            I can see your point, but the fact remains that they covered it up, and worse.
            Nor do I think pedophilia within the Catholic Church only started in the 60s.

          5. D

            “… confidential January 1997 letter from the Vatican’s diplomat in Ireland to the Irish bishops warned them that the Irish church’s child-protection policies were invalid under Catholic canon law; those internal church laws must be respected foremost; and any accused priests were likely to have any punishments successfully appealed in Rome. ”


            I think you’ll find they held Canon Law in higher esteem than the law of the land or free wheeling sexual attitudes from the 1960s. Nice try to blame the hippies though. They sought to deal with it under Canon Law, i.e. the organisation is literally a law unto itself.

      2. Cian

        Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.

        The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers. And since the clothing of that time equally provoked aggression, school principals also made attempts at introducing school uniforms with a view to facilitating a climate of learning.

        Yes, we should all read this letter.

      3. Janet, I ate my avatar

        sexual norms/experimentation of the 60’s wasn’t about abusing children and is no way to say ” oh they were confused because sex was more open ”
        I’m glad the Catholic Church keeps making excuses instead of whole heartidly admitting it’s abuse and addressing it, makes the job of people like me advocating a laïc societies job easier
        Keep it up deluded old men I say

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            did it? or that’s just because we got to hear about it ?
            I’d wagger it’s been in place as soon as the church gained power over the lay people, became mini gods in their own right, feared and respected by their sheep

          2. bisted

            …it peaked in those years because the perpetraters started to be exposed…it was always rampant in the church, since the establishment of the church…

          3. Ron

            That’s not what bisted said at all and the fact that you have had such a triggered reaction to his comment also tells me your probably very deeply attached to the Catholic church in all its shape and form, which means that your opinion is not independent evaluation. Stop trying to defend the indefensible

      4. millie st murderlark

        It’s excusing child abuse. There is no justification for it.

        Thousands of priests – priests belonging to the RCC – that we know of abused children. No one and nothing is responsible for these acts other than the fact that those priests thought they could get away with exploiting innocent children and the RCC facilitated them. They hid and lied and denied for years.

        It’s a little too close to the bone for me to see it objectively. All I see is the multiple suicide attempts that come from the rape of a six year old girl and the substance abuse that comes from the buggering of thirteen years old boy. How nice of them to keep it in the family.

        Any defense the church puts forward it nothing other than a cowards defense of the indefensible.

        1. newsjustin

          How is BXVI justifying it?

          He is doing the opposite. He’s calling out and interrogating why priests and bishops, amongst others in the late 20th century, DID believe that it wasn’t such a big deal.

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            I believe they knew it was a big deal,it goes against any human feeling to hurt a defencless child, they also knew it would be a bigger deal for the Catholic Church once people knew the truth

          2. Daisy Chainsaw

            Even the most simple minded of clergy knew sticking his winkie in a child’s mouth was wrong… especially with a vow of chastity, but I wouldn’t put it past them to think sexual relations (or rape and sexual assault, as we normal people call it) with a child wasn’t as bad as sex with an adult woman.

        2. Liam Deliverance

          I was starting to get annoyed at this article and thread, Thank You Millie, Janet et al for bringing some sense back to it

    1. Cú Chulainn

      Let those who harm the children be bound in chains and thrown into the deepest lake. Jesus

  4. Janet, I ate my avatar

    as an atheist I never find myself wishing for heaven
    but for this kind of person I find myself wishing for the existence of hell
    because there is obviously no justice on this Earth and certainly not the savage one the bible would call for
    an eye for an eye

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Ratzo believes in hell so it’s real for him. We can but hope that he spends his last years in terror.

  5. eoin

    “Part of the physiognomy of the Revolution of ‘68 was that pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.”

    You can understand why he’s the only pope in nearly a millenium to resign, he’s clearly lost his marbles.

  6. The Dude

    ‘Paedophilia did not become “acute” until the late 1980s’?

    Incorrect – only in the late 1980s did it become apparent that paedophilia was / is rampant in the RC ‘church’.

    It would still be not apparent if the RC ‘church’ had their way.

    Enough is enough.

    When is Ireland going to behave like a proper republic and having a meaningful plebiscite to simply transfer all lands currently in possession of the RC mob back into the hands of the people?

  7. McVitty

    It’s obviously a bogus claim that the abuses actually began and the summary has a tone of deflection – that if they had never come to light, that it wouldn’t have been an issue and we wouldn’t be here…so shame on the Spotlight team and our journalists at home.

    With all that said, how many people here can say at least skim-readed his letter before writing a comment with deep conviction?

    And don’t say it doesn’t matter – we choose to inform our biases these days without taking a more open view….we used to call that willful ignorance – it’s certainly not the high minded approach. This is not a defense of malice, this is an attack on the kind of willful ignorance and cozy consensus that allowed the abuses to go on in the first place.

    The letter (in full) can be viewed here:

    1. deluded

      “…willful ignorance and cozy consensus that allowed the abuses to go on in the first place…”
      You have got to be joking drawing that parallel, there is no cozy consensus in contemplating such horror, unlike the virtue signalling of the holy types thumping their bibles.
      (I understand your point, and no, Benjamin’s comments are no better in context given his wilful ignorance
      … this is just an example of when nations, people, began to report and prosecute on these matters long before the 1960s

      I think that when I read of the incarceration and castration of abuse victims what impressed me is how the church defends itself by referencing the behaviours of others at those times… as if the “morality” they adopt is the flavour of the day (… for instance I now see various Christian sects claiming “the gays” are ok now: did god change his mind?)

  8. Yep

    Why the alarm around the wrist? Surely when it’s time to go it’s time to go. If he falls sure it was God’s will. Maybe God will push him?….

  9. GiggidyGoo

    You know something. Yes, the catholic church is rampant with all these things. But he has a point. He’s talking about the sexual revolution in the 60s and beyond.
    Have a look now. There are various TV ‘reality(?) shows Love Island? Ibiza (something or other), Naked Attraction. All peddling formication. There are the guest gay (men mostly) people on TV shows, and all they are offering are innuendos, sexual references and ‘acting’ sexual scenes. All complete with canned laughter.
    And programs normalizing drunkenness.
    Whatever about the church, sex in all types is in your face on TV non-stop these days.
    Today’s 2010’s in thirty years time will be the 1960’s he’s talking about.
    And the. birch, as well as everyone else, are looking at it.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          My comment was about the ‘in your face’ sexual content on TV. Gay and straight. What’s with the confusion and defenseness?

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            it’s not in your face pedophilia and that’s what we are discussing not sex gay or otherwise

    1. Cian

      So you are suggesting that the profusion of “Love Island” (and other shows that peddle fornication) today will lead to an increase in adults raping prepubescent children in 30 years time?

      I’m sorry, I just can’t see the link.

      ‘consenting adults’ today ≠ ‘non-consenting children’ in 30 years

  10. Dub Spot

    Not much in the way of the lucrative after-dinner speeches circuit for former Popes, I guess.

    And tonight’s host is….


    1. Janet, I ate my Avatar

      this is a site where you comment,
      if by trigger you mean have an opinion you can be bothered typing as a comment then consider me triggered

  11. newsjustin

    If anyone on here actually, finally gets around to reading what BXVI wrote they’ll see that, far from seeking to excuse the church, which some people bizarrely claim he’s trying to do here, that he is trying to explain where and why the church went so badly wrong. Paedophiles are paedophiles. They have (I guess) been around since forever and appear in every culture and walk of life. There is nothing in Catholic teaching that could ever be taken (even by the most blindly anti-Catholic person) as condoning child sex abuse, quite the opposite, chastity was prized – especially post Vatican II. So why did child sexual abuse happen in the church? And why did the church fail to root it out? BXVI suggests that a loosening of moral teaching, a rupture in fact, explains some of it. No one is suggesting paedophilia started in 1968. It has always existed. But stats from the US do show that of historical claims, they’ve peaked around the 60s/70s and 80s. Those stats also show that the vast majority of sex abuse was male perpetrators abusing male teenagers.

    1. Janet, I ate my Avatar

      you say explain
      I hear excuses
      I don’t want explanations or excuses
      It’s like listening to a kid say well Tommy said it was ok, or so and so was at it too,
      I want “sorry, our bad and I’ll fix it”
      bottom line, you know like responsible grown ups

      1. newsjustin

        The church – priests, bishops and successive popes have said just that Janet – that they are sorry, that they have failed and that they will fix it.

        If that was all they said, that too would not be enough. People within and without the church want to know how and why such monumental failings happened. As I’ve already said. Catholicism in and of itself does not cause paedophilia. Nothing happens in a vacuum. It is not unreasonable to examine the church’s failings in a wider societal view.

        Inevitably, any attempt to explain, can also be taken as an attempt to excuse. But if you read the document in full, especially the example BXVI gives of actual abuse by a priest of a young girl, you’ll see that this is just not the case.

        1. Janet, I ate my avatar

          ok let’s look at this another way
          you give a man power over his fellow humans backed in the minds of followers by a supreme being and one is surprised there is abuse of one kind or another,
          now make that man someone who has possibly never come to terms with his own sexuality, or thinks mistakenly he can repress it,
          and that person knows that he will be forgiven anything by both his church and God with the right words
          it’s a recipe for disaster

          1. newsjustin

            The above three factors are certainly valid points. But they don’t mean that external, cultural and societal factors do not matter. The question is not why were there any paedophiles in the church, it is how did they persist for so long in getting away with it. Benedict is trying to shed light on that.

          2. Janet, I ate my avatar

            I guess I just don’t share your faith news, either in the god involved or the humans acting as it’s mouthpiece.

          3. millie st murderlark

            +1 Jan.

            And I say that as someone who acknowledges her own biases on this subject.

        2. Janet, I ate my avatar

          it’s been a long time since the church believed they had to show any accountability to the peasants,

          1. Janet, I ate my avatar

            and yes I’m getting carried away but as I have studied rural Irish history I can tell you it’s no new phenomenon feeling somehow above or separate to your flock, that whole concept is patronising at best for a spiritual leader

          2. Janet, I ate my avatar

            again I digress but if we are looking for why’s start there and not with sexual norms that ought not to apply to a true father in the faith in the first place

      1. Janet, I ate my avatar

        that you know about, the church has been around for a long long time, it took a group of Jewish journalists to get the cover up scandales public for the first time and give people the strength to speak out about them,
        Look how long it took for Ireland to admit and talk about the laundries,
        Look at nuns having at last the courage to talk about their abuse stories,
        History is not always written

      2. Janet, I ate my avatar

        I predict a second way out of more recent Christian communities in Africa, India or the Philippines

    2. Cian

      Sorry newsjustin, I can’t accept that.
      He says “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. “
      and if he was talking about the population at large there might be some reason to accept this. But he is talking about men of the church. Men who where chosen by god to be priests. You can’t say that these priests had an “absent God!”.

      These men (the majority of abusers according to your stats) all decided to become priests prior to the “godless 60s and filthy TV shows”. So suddenly in the 60s they watched some TVs (depicting consensual heterosexual sex amongst adults) and decided that becoming a paedophile (or at least gay-sex with teens) was okay? Rubbish.

      He’s grasping at straws.

      Later he mentions a girl raped by a priest. What do we need to do? “Yes, we must urgently implore the Lord for forgiveness, and first and foremost we must swear by Him and ask Him to teach us all anew to understand the greatness of His suffering, His sacrifice. And we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.”
      We need to protect the church. Nothing about the woman. Nothing about the rapist. no. we . need. to. protect. the. church.

      1. Brother Barnabas


        what i got from an admittedly very quick reading of his piece was “not our fault… lay society made pedophilia ok in the 1960s, so not our fault that we embraced it
        eh, utter b0 ll 0cks

        pedophilia is not a sexual peccadillo, it’s a psychiatric disorder and a criminal act. there was no social movement in the 1960s making it ok.

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