In the following article, https://wgno.com/2019/04/11/ex-pope-benedict-xvi-breaks-silence-on-churchs-sex-abuse-crisis-and-blames-the-sexual-revolution-and-liberals/ Ex- Pope Benedict says “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?..Ultimately the reason is the absence of God.” This attempt to blame God for the evil that men do, is a prime example of what happens when religious faith is divorced from reason.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of reasoning to see all the logical flaws in what Benedict says. For example. he claims that the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and “liberalization of the church’s moral teaching [by society]” are partly to blame for the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church. Let’s see what scripture has to say on the matter…
In Hebrews 13:7 it says “Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith”. When we reflect on the lives of pedophiles in positions of religious power, is there anything in their “faith” that reason would suggest we imitate?
In 1 Timothy 4:11-12 it says “Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity.” Notice “but set an example”. Does the Word of God suggest that the Church should be embracing evil because the rest of society is? Shouldn’t the Church should be doing all it can to prevent, report, and punish such crimes? Shouldn’t it be embracing instead, the words -and spirit – of Jesus Christ when he said “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Note that Jesus didn’t say a single thing about letting children suffer acts of rape, sodomy and other forms of sexual abuse…and the emotional abuse that accompanies them.
When we put our faith under the magnifying glass of reason, we see other serious spiritual problems in what this religious leader is saying about sexual abuse being caused by God’s absence. Since the topic under discussion is sexual abuse in the Catholic CHURCH, we have to assume that this same church is where Benedict is saying God was “absent” from. Is this not one of the most ludicrous – and dangerous – things you’ve ever heard a Pope say?
How could God ever be absent from the church, the very HOUSE of God (speaking literally and metaphorically), and body of Christ? Did God take a vacation? Did he get kidnapped by Satan? Did he get lost on his way back from Heaven? And what is God’s status since the 1960’s when – according to Benedict – God went somehow missing. Is God still absent, or did he re-appear. If God is still absent, well heck, we can blame whatever evil occurs in the world on him, can’t we?
Even if we interpret God being “absent”, as the CHOICE of humanity to accept his presence, doesn’t that mean that the priests who committed acts of sexual abuse CHOSE to allow the absence of God that their crimes are being blamed on?
Hebrews 13:5 says “I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You.” Is there an addendum to that, which is missing from the bible? For example “…unless you forsake me first!” (in which case, so much for unconditional love) or “unless you’re a child being molested by a priest” (in which case, so much for the child!) Either God was lying when he said he will never leave us or forsake us, or else he didn’t actually say that… at least not in the literal sense that we tend to take it.
This whole thing brings to mind one of the issues I have with the holy mantras of “God is in control”… or “God is Good all the time, all the time God is Good.” (one of the favorite greetings among the members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church I used to attend). Tell the boy who was repeatedly raped “until he prayed for his own death” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4409734/Catholic-priest-74-repeatedly-raped-young-boy.html that God was good and in control while he being abused.
The whole concept of Good and Evil, the nature of God, and who is control at any given time, is probably more complicated than religious platitudes suggest. What is a lot easier to understand – when we combine faith with reason – is that blaming the absence or acceptance of God for the evils of mankind, is probably one of the greatest spiritual travesties that religion can attempt to delude us with.