Winging his way to Portugal, the pope showed his Augustinian colors and embraced a view of the church as beset with sin and a penitential approach to the abuse crisis:
In terms of what we today can discover in this message, attacks against
the pope or the church don’t come just from outside the church. The
suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin
exists in the church. This too has always been known, but today we see
it in a really terrifying way. The greatest persecution of the church
doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born in sin within the
church. The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept
purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of
justice. Forgiveness does not exclude justice. We have to re-learn the
essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues.
That’s how we respond, and we can be realistic in expecting that evil
will always launch attacks from within and from outside, but the forces
of good are also always present, and finally the Lord is stronger than
A cynic might say that Benedict is now fixing to throw Sodano under the bus, say 100 mea culpas, and move on. Let’s hope there’s more to it than that. Including, perhaps, a suggestion that the Ambassador to the U.S. take the above words to heart.