John Paul II & Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church had to deal with sexual scandals from time to time that involved charges against priests sexually abusing minors. John Paul II was greatly disturbed by these scandals and his first statement or declaration on the issue involved a deep concern for the image of the church being tarnished by such disgraceful acts. He clearly stated that he, along with other noble priests, was greatly disturbed to hear about the sins committed by some of their brothers. In doing so, these priests have violated their code of honor. He also added that because of these handfuls of priests who are guilty of sexually abusing children, every priest would be viewed with suspicion. This is quite unfortunate since majority of priests is dedicated to their job and perform their duties with integrity and honesty.

This was truly a controversial phase for John Paul 2. There were many who accused him of giving more importance to the effect that the scandal had on the priests and church rather than its repercussion on the victims. His speech apparently conveyed the idea that he was more concerned about how to solve the issue and restore the image of the church in the eyes of everyone than truly caring and doing something for the victims.

As a possible explanation, Pope attributed this heinous act of sexual abuse by the priests to mysterium iniquitatis. In other words, he meant that the priest did not deliberately set out to molest the children but came under a spell of this mystery of iniquity. It was believed that the Pope attempted to shift the responsibility of this crime from the individual priests to the presence of some dark forces in the world, namely, Satan.

The main point that John Paul ii wanted to stress was that these were solitary instances and all priests should not be labeled perverse and molesters. He cited the example of bad apples where a couple of bad apples in a basket manage to give the impression that all of them are rotten when in reality, it is not actually so. He also stated that these acts were primarily committed by gay priests.

This scandal also brought forth the issue of homosexuality and gay priests. The Vatican officials were quite vocal against homosexuals and stated that they should not be ordained. It was based on the assumption that the removal of gay priests from the clergy would put an end to the problem of sexual abuse and molestation of minors.

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