“The Holy See’s obtuse response, combining self-denial with self-pity — it’s all the fault of a gossip-mongering media apparently — has shredded the last vestiges of Vatican credibility,” writes Andrew Bacevich in yesterday’s Boston Globe. And today’s New York Times has published excerpts from a 1985 letter signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger showing he resisted “for the good of the universal church” pleas to oust a pedophile priest in Oakland, California.
World-wide attention is now focused on center stage at the Vatican. The Pope really has to act and act quickly. And I have an action-oriented suggestion…..
For Pentecost 2010 — At high noon on Sunday May 23rd Pope Benedict XVI should appear at his balcony and issue the following proclamation:
Dear Brothers and Sisters around the world,
Today, Pentecost 2010, I stand before you not to bestow the traditional blessing “urbi et orbi” but to confess my own personal failures and sinfulness. I failed as Archbishop of Munich. I failed as Cardinal Ratzinger in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And I have failed as Pope Benedict XVI, Peter’s Successor. Through my fault. Through my fault. Through my most grievous fault, the sins of sexual abuse by members of the clergy went on far too long, hidden in secrecy and unpunished. I put face-saving self-concern and institutional safety ahead of living the Gospel and showing loving concern for the safety of children and young people. A terrible sin and a terrible failure as a leader in the Church of Christ. May the Lord have pity on my poor soul.
Therefore today, Pentecost 2010, I offer no “urbi et orbi” blessing but my most profound apology for my failures and sinfulness; and at the conclusion of this address will offer at the same time my resignation as Peter’s Successor.
Furthermore, at a special Pentecost Penitential liturgy to be held today at 6:00 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica I ask Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State; Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to kneel with me before the high altar and offer their own resignations effective immediately.
Today, Pentecost 2010, I humbly ask the Holy Spirit to revivify and renew the Church. I ask Catholics and Christians around world to join together in prayer and discussion to chart a new course for the Church of Rome. And for the coming month I ask the heads of all episcopal conferences around the world to send to the Vatican representatives from their conferences – one lay and one ordained – who will comprise an international Roman Catholic leadership team to administer the Church and plan a thorough-going reorganization.
I now resign my office as Pope. For the next thirty days I will retreat to a Franciscan monastery, as a simple priest, for a time of prayer, penance and interior conversion. May the Holy Spirit be with us all in the coming days!