Blog Post

Pope: Sin, Satan and Heresy at Root of Abuse Scandal

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist Speaking to nearly 15,000 priests at the closing Mass of the Vatican’s Year for Priests in Rome on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI said that sin, satanic influence and the toleration of heresy are at the root of the sex abuse scandal. According to, the Pope said that because the priesthood is an institution erected by God to make Himself sacramentally “present to all men and women,” the devil wants to destroy it. This is why the Church must use the “shepherd’s rod” to discipline errant priests and correct these problems.   "The Church too must use the shepherd's rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray," he said. A weak response to heresy in the Church, which allows false teachings to spread, is one of several problems at the root of the abuse scandal.  "Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented." We must also be more aware that the priesthood “is not pleasing to the 'enemy,'" he said.    "He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light - particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God's concern for our good, turns into its very opposite." He once again extended his apology to the victims of sexual abuse by priests, saying, "We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved." This was followed by a promise to "do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again" by more scrutiny and better formation of those who apply for the priesthood.   © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®