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Morning over the bay

Should the Pope Resign?

Johann Christoph Arnold

Available languages: español, français

12 Comments
12 Comments
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  • John Williams

    Dear Mr. Arnold, Regarding your letter to the editor in today's New York Times: I am a lapsed, non-believing Catholic, but believe strongly in compassion and forgiveness, and I agree that a victim's forgiveness helps them move on. But that has nothing to do with society's responsibility to protect its citizens. Someone forgiving a murderer does not eliminate the need to incarcerate the perpetrator. The Catholic church is not the cause of sexual abuse, but it, with the assent of its leaders, has demonstrated a callous and criminal propensity over decades to shirk its legal and moral reponsibility. If the pope knew of sexual abuse and did not report it to the authorities, he should be held accountable as any other person should be. If we do not hold him accountable, we can hold no one accountable. Respectfully, John Williams

  • Derrick

    Do you think the self-righteous, Christ-hating Pharisees calling for the Pope's resignation will stop with that? Jesus called them a nest of snakes and all they want is to destroy and discredit what He started! John 8:44 puts it all very well!

  • Bill Keenan

    This is a very good article. I too blame some of the Media and Entertainment Industry for the Moral problems in our World. It is unfair to blame the Pope and the Catholic Church, but we know Satan is doing all he can, in this Century, to destroy it.

  • Magdalen Mauldin

    This is a very good article. I too blame some of the Media and Entertainment Industry for the Moral problems in our World. It is unfair to blame the Pope and the Catholic Church, but we know Satan is doing all he can, in this Century, to destroy it.

  • Kevin

    The issue is whether we as Christians should shield someone from the consequnces of their actions. Note Jesus didn't do that with Peter & Judas. Note that the Prophet told Israel to submit to Babylonian captivity. We may not want to turn someone over to the cops, but on the other hand, should be willing to speak prophetcially to the root of the problem. The problem is, the Catholic Church persists on it's unbiblical celibacy requirements. That's why they have so much closeted homsexuality and sin against children.

  • Thomas Skayhan

    I do not believe that the Pope has anything to do withe the abuse issue. I believe that He is above the fray. I believe that this is a deliberate attept to silence the Pope and the Church. I feel that there is no question in my mind that this is what people are trying to do.

  • Alexander

    Dear Mr Arnold, Your example and faith are admirable. Personally I do believe the Pope should resign, not for the reasons here presumed but because the very fundaments of the Catholic Church are heretical. He should either rectify these inherent flaws in that organisation, or he, if he has a faith as genuine as you say, should get out of it. I will be the first to say that I am not perfect and that my faith has errors, but to knowingly remain in a system that keeps so many in such deep bondage (rosaries, hail Marys, celibate priests, mortal sins, Papal deification etc.) is something I could not live with. I say this with deep humility and respect for Catholics, except those who abuse the power the Catholic Church gives them. I believe that these are the more pressing issues. God bless, Alexander

  • Tony Carey

    I grew up in a very Catholic country, where it was very hard to see the difference between Church and State. I witnessed the brutality of young children at the hands of Clerics. Religion was drilled into me by people who were extremely harsh. This was the common experience of most of my generation and this generation has sadly largely rejected the Catholic Church. When I left school I came to personally know Jesus and this changed my life dramatically. I discovered a God of Love and Beauty that greatly differed form the god that was presented to me in me 14 years of Catholic education. Many years I am still trying to overcome the effects this had on me. I watched and listened to all the commentary from the media and the Church over the last few years and what shocks me the most is the lack of sincere apology and regret from the Church to its victims. And where I live there are many wounded souls. Sadly any response from the church was forced upon them by public reaction to stories in the media. I too have no love for the media but again where I live many of the horror stories of abuse would never have been told if it was not for the media and I applaud them for that. The Church claims to represent Christ on earth yet I have seen so little of that on the ground, I have seen much denial and arrogance. The figures attending the Catholic Church now attest to this, many, many people have left the church. Finally in all of this there has been so little mention of Jesus, some say this is a good thing because of associations that might be made. I say if the love of God was foremost in those who claim to know Him and represent Him events could have been dramatically different. The door is open and the horse is gone !

  • Gerard O'Shea

    This is a pathetic plea for the continuation of an office that is repugnant to the spirit of Jesus the carpenters son as depicted in the gospels. The pontifical office is an aping of the worldly pomp and circumstance as paraded by the Roman Empire by a so called Christian church who should (if they adhered to the Scriptures) know better. So the Catholic church has defended a few family values over the years but at the same time their clergy have participated in the debauched evil of sexual abuse of children in their care! Jesus reserved some of His sternest admonitions for those who would stumble children in saying that they would have been better off if they had never been born. I'm tired of evangelical believers embracing the 'positive' aspects of Roman Catholicism while ignoring the multitude of cases where the RC church has replaced Scripture with the traditions and philosophies of men. I was raised within that Church and it was only the tender mercies of our Saviour that rescued me off the religious treadmill that is Rome. I knew all about religious duty and the fear of God but not until my encounter with the living God through His Son did I come to realise that He loved me and wanted to save me. Let us hold on to the truth of God's word in the face of all earthly wisdom and conjecture, let God be true and every man a liar!

  • Buddy

    Your an apologist blaming the secular world for for the evil committed by the church. Any organization holding it self to a higher standard should therefor except higher judgments, Every wrong by the church is covered up excused or redirected to blame the general society but these issues are squarely on the back of the church itself, which is why it never goes away just festers.Its one thing to commit and act of rape on a child but far worse to cover it up or allow it to continue. Time to take the blame and move on.

  • M Selvam

    Yes I agree with the Pope. Even Jesus did not comdemn the women caught in adultery; but told her 'go your way and sin no more'. According to Jesus teaching, every one should be given an opportunity for redemption before condemnation. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

  • Catholic

    Dear Mr. Arnold, I totally agree with you. The issue now IS the media's attack on christianity as a whole. The catholic church is representative of christianity and it is under attack by those opposed to the proponents of antichristian agendas. The molestation issue by these priests is sad and wrong but it is not a catholic clergy problem or a celibacy problem. It is a universal problem. Statistics show that less than 1% of catholic priests have been convicted of molestation while 10% of married protestant ministers have been convicted of sexual abuse and an even higher percentage of non christian married men have been as well. Celibacy was actually encouraged by St. Paul and Christ himself in the bible (to those who believe it is not biblical): See - - 1Corinthians 7:8-9, 27, 32-35, 38; - Matthew 19:3-12; - Revelation 14:3-5 God bless, Catholic

A condensed version of this article was first published in the New York Times in April 2010. 

Cries for the Pope to step down over the clergy abuse scandal are not about righting wrongs, but about silencing a man and a church. The attempts of the media to drop this crisis at the Vatican’s door will fail because God, not man, is in control. Jesus himself said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church have tried valiantly to defend a biblical understanding of sexuality, marriage, and the family from the onslaught of our secular society. This society not only tolerates but celebrates all kinds of evil under the guise of diversity. The media is not content with persecuting the Catholic Church; its ultimate aim is to destroy people’s faith in God. First the family, and now faith itself, is under attack.

Though non-Catholic, I have met the Pope several times and always marveled at his faith. This faith is more than a feeling; it is a conviction that mandates both speech and action. It has earned him life-long hatred and opposition. In spite of this, he has met evil with good, and advocated for peace by forgiving.

In his letter to the Irish church, the Pope makes it clear that he is ashamed of the church’s failings, and that he has taken concrete steps to address the abuses which have been revealed. Yet he is right in noting that no victim will be helped by exploiting scandal.

Jesus condemns sin, but then points to forgiveness. True compassion for a victim includes helping him forgive his transgressor so that he can move on with his life. Without such forgiveness, healing can never take place.

Instead of targeting the Pope, we should begin to address the root causes of sexual abuse – a society and an entertainment industry that will cross any boundary for the sake of making money.

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Contributed By Johann Christoph Arnold Johann Christoph Arnold

A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, education, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities.

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