The Spectator ran an article from AP this afternoon that both popes had written to a famous Italian atheist, Odifreddi, in reply to his book which posed a series of polemical arguments about the Catholic faith, including the church’s sex abuse scandal. The article stressed that both popes denied participation in the alleged cover-up. It did not mention other arguments.
Does anyone really think that the sex abuse scandal is the only issue driving people away from the church? Where have they been hiding for the last five hundred years?
And do two letters to one person constitute a campaign?
If so, we should all launch campaigns: one for less sensational media reporting about sex abuses in the church; the second for giving a real voice to the millions of former believers who have “fallen away” for other compelling reasons.
Meanwhile here is an atheist commercial and an excerpt from the article by Nicole Winfield .
Benedict, Pope Francis reach out to atheists in non-believer papal campaign
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI undated photo by Michael Kappeler, McClatchy-Tribune
VATICAN CITY Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has emerged from his self-imposed silence inside the Vatican walls to publish a lengthy letter to one of Italy’s most well-known atheists. In it, he defends his record on handling sexually abusive priests and discusses everything from evolution to theology to the figure of Jesus Christ…
Odifreddi posed a series of polemical arguments about the Catholic faith, including the church’s sex abuse scandal. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican office responsible for abuse cases, and was pope when scandal erupted in 2010, with thousands of people coming forward in Europe, Latin America and beyond saying they had been molested by priests while the Vatican turned a blind eye.
In his letter, Benedict rejects personal involvement, saying: “I never tried to cover these things up.”
“That the power of evil penetrated so far into the interior world of the faith is a suffering that we must bear, but at the same time must do everything to prevent it from repeating,” he wrote, according to Repubblica.
Both the papacy and the media need to “get real” about the depth and breadth and urgency in this debate.
It would be a step in the right direction if more atheists spoke out, and if more people listened and took them seriously.