'Too easy to blame church for sex abuse'

2013-03-11 10:01

Vatican City - Putting the blame for paedophilia on the Roman Catholic Church is a way of avoiding the issue, a top French cardinal says.

"There is a kind of opinion that is an easy way of ridding [society] of the issue of paedophilia by putting it on the Church," Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, said in an interview.

"We shouldn't be duped. It's easy because that prevents asking the question within society itself," said Vingt-Trois, aged 70, one of the 115 cardinals set to elect the next pope in a conclave starting on Tuesday.

"Paedophilia is not solely a Church problem. Eighty percent of victims of paedophilia are in families, and we don't talk about that," he said, rejecting what he called a "fascination" over the issue in connection with the Church.

He also said he felt that the scourge which has dogged the Church for years should be dealt with locally.

Asked about the qualities he sought in the future pope, Vingt-Trois said the successor to Benedict XVI should be open to diverse cultures.


"He should be a polyglot. He should be a man of dialogue who knows how to listen and work with different people," Vingt-Trois said.

"He should be deeply rooted in faith, a man of piety who is very open theologically and able to understand, or at least welcome, other cultural expressions than his own," the cardinal said, adding that there are a half dozen "plausible" candidates.

"There are not two camps, progressive and conservative," he said. "We have a permanent conviction for reform in the Church."

Vingt-Trois dismissed as "cinema" suggestions that Benedict's resignation was a betrayal of a sacred duty.

"Benedict XVI said he doesn't have the strength to carry out his ministry as he sees its demands," the archbishop said.

"It's completely understandable... to retire in this way to allow someone to be pope in better conditions... He said he would continue his ministry in prayer and silence."

  • almeleh - 2013-03-11 10:41

    Maybe not only a church problem, but we dont expect it from the church who are supposed to protect and uphold our moral values.

      MagdaKus - 2013-03-11 13:49

      Most of the offenders put themselves in positions where they have easy access to children; greatest group are family members (including parents and step parents), then also teachers, coaches etc. Are we to expect less from any of the above? And I do agree it is completely unacceptable & shocking.

      sheamus.drager - 2013-03-12 08:15

      I don't think anyone blames the church for creating or starting pedophilia, but when it is discovered in a parish, who covered it up. Who moved priests around to different parishes to avoid dealing with the offenders. In essence the Holy See condoned the actions of the pedophiles by not dealing with them.

  • Francois Blom - 2013-03-11 10:57

    This man speaks the truth...

  • SarcasticHeathen - 2013-03-11 11:16

    What about excommunication from the church for convicted pedophile priests? The moment you just start moving convicted pedophile priests from one church to another, you are just as guilty.

  • Sue Heymans - 2013-03-11 11:17

    Oh really? Lets blame it on the stars...

  • appealtoreason.rationalmind - 2013-03-11 14:12

    The church systematically covred up the abuse and protected the perpetrators over decades. Thats the difference.

      Lanfear Mierin - 2013-03-12 09:53

      Exactly! Nobody thinks that phaedophilia only happens in churches, the RCC specifically. The problem is that the churches to try to cover it up, move priests to new diocese if there's a problem instead of kicking them out and handing them over to the police for justice! THAT Mr Cardinal, is the problem.

  • God - 2013-03-11 14:34

    Untrue stories of heaven and salvation in return for submission and externalised guilt is child abuse.

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