John Allen looks at Ratzinger/Benedict’s response to abuse

The growing numbers of news reports about Catholic Church sex-abuse scandals in Germany and Ireland will draw every possible reaction from observers.

Some will say that it’s about time that the media are focusing on decades of abuse.

Others will say that the abuse cases in question date back to the 60s, 70s and sometimes 80, and that it is irresponsible for the media to cover these things as if they happened yesterday.

The fact that Pope Benedict XVI has been tied indirectly to one notorious case will ensure that emotions on all sides are hotter than ever.

JohnLAllenI have to recommend that people who want to get a handle on things read John Allen’s outstanding analysis in NCR. He focuses on Cardinal Ratzinger’s response to sex-abuse allegations and how he, as the pope, has evolved.

I see it as a detailed, comprehensive, pretty balanced and ultimately educational look at a big story. Of course, others will see it quite differently.

In fact, if you read it, go on and read the dozens of comments afterward. They cover the gamut.

He’s getting killed by critics of the church, like this one:

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I realize, John, that for your access to your sources at the Vatican, you cannot be too blunt. But talk about who has been drinking the Kool-Aid, you must be on a sugar-high! This is the Pope we are talking about who is able to demote and/or remove anyone in the hierarchy!!!! Not ONE bishop from the United States has been removed by this Pope; not ONE!!!!!!

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And he’s taking it from defenders of the church, like this one:

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Benedict is one of the greatest Popes in the History of the Church! There is so much more to all of this then know, we should becareful with what we say! He is the Pope, God had chosen him to lead his people in a World full of hate for the Church and our Lord.

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Many readers are arguing that John bends over backwards to present the pope in the best possible light.

The comments make for good reading. But read John first.

And back where the Reformation began…

There are few Lutherans these days in the land of Martin Luther.

It’s no surprise, really.

As the Washington Post reports, decades of communism in East Germany, followed by the secularism that has swept through Europe, has greatly diminished the role and profile of Christianity in Wittenberg, Germany. Yeah, that’s the place where Lutheran nailed his list of grievances on the door of the church.

The Post reports that the two main Lutheran denominations in the U.S. — the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — are trying to revive Lutheranism in Wittenberg. But it’s not easy.

In September, Wittenberg began celebrating the 500th anniversary of Luther’s arrival in the city.

And “Luther tourism” is good for the place, with some 200,000 people visiting the Castle Church each year.

But, as Wilhelm Torgerson, the Missouri Synod’s representative in Wittenberg, told the Post: “In east Germany, you actually have to go up to people and tell them who Jesus was. They say, ‘Oh yes, Christ. Didn’t he have something to do with Luther?’ “