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Barbara Ann MacMahon-Firestone wrote:

Hi Mike,

I have a very sincere question I would like to ask you. Many different people from all over Canada have e-mailed me, so I am bringing this puzzle to you. Hopefully you can publish these questions and bring about some sincere, and open debate on this subject.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent some twenty years at the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  This enabled him to follow cases of sexual abuse. He is an extremely learned, intellectual man, who has penned some forty plus books.

Therefore one would ask:

  • Where is the so-called purification of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Where is the elimination of the filth that nests within it?
  • What has the Church done for all these abused children, adolescents, adults or whatever?
  • When will the brilliant, gifted, dear Pope Benedict XVI realize he is not living in the 21st century?

The followers of Jesus Christ, in the Roman Rite, need a leader who can inspire them. A Man who faces everything head on. We need a Pope who is, of the People, for the People, consecrated by Jesus Christ Himself.

Therefore I humbly beg this learned man to abdicate or resign. It happened in the 15th century, and it should and must happen now in the 21st century.

  • God bless and help all believing Roman Catholics.
  • God help and bless Pope Benedict XV1.
  • May Jesus give him the strength and nobility to do the right thing.

Please, as a woman whose faith has been the foundation of her entire existence on this earth,
I humbly request, Pope Benedict, please resign.

I thank you for considering my humble request.

Yours lovingly in Christ,

Barbara Ann MacMahon-Firestone, BA., MA.

  { In light of the lack of action on the clergy sex abuse issues, why doesn't Pope Benedict XVI resign? }

Mike replied:

Dear Barbara Ann,

Up until 2001, the responsibility for cleaning the filth from the seminary culture was the local bishop, not the Pope. [He has his own seminary to oversee in Rome!] It was in 2001 that the Pope St. Paul II asked Cardinal Ratzinger, (the future Pope Benedict XVI) to review all the files on these issues and he was shocked!

As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said,

"It's not what the Pope knew; it's when did he know about this and what did he do about it when he found out."

All bishops are human and can bend to pressure and temptation like any human. They can subsequently make bad choices. Cardinal Ratzinger, as a local bishop, was just as vulnerable as any other bishop in the 80's and 90's. This is why we emphasize praying for our bishops and priests.

I do believe he missed a great opportunity to address this issue at the homily in Vatican City on Easter Sunday, but I'm not in the Pope's shoes.

You said:
Hopefully you can publish these questions and bring about some sincere, and open debate on this subject.

The Faith is not about debate. The Faith is about believing what Jesus and His Church has taught for almost 2,000 years!

You said:
Therefore one would ask:

  • Where is the so-called purification of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Where is the elimination of the filth that nests within it?

The purification of the Church can be found in every Catholic Church on a Saturday afternoon.
Maybe they didn't teach you this. It's called:

the Sacrament of Confession.

Your disagreement is not with the Pope; your disagreement is with the Holy Spirit. If, as you said:
Your faith has been the foundation of your entire existence on this earth.

  • Why don't you trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Church correctly?

Only you can answer the following question:

  • Are you a believer or a dissenter?
    • A believer believes through trials and tribulations and strives to understand during tough times.
    • A dissenter would say what you have said, to resign.

The pope can only resign of his own free will. No one can force him to resign.

You can't equate the Presidency or the Democratic Republic of the United States of America with the Papacy. They are apples and oranges. Besides, I'm a Catholic first, then I'm a American.

President Donald Trump nor any president is the pillar and foundation of Truth for me. (1 Timothy 3:15)  : )

We received and replied to a similar question a few days ago. I think this web posting will address many of your questions and concerns:

I hope this helps,


Mary Ann replied:

Dear Barbara,

I do understand your perspective, and share your desire for a strong stand to be taken. I myself wrote to John Paul II over 15 years ago about these matters, which he blamed on the press.
(the Communists used to [blame|label] good priests as homosexuals so that they would be ruined, so John Paul II tended not to believe such accusations). Pope Benedict has been the first bishop or Pope to take a strong stance against sexual abusers.

To the extent that he knew about it, the incident in Germany does appear to be something that he did not exercise control over. It appears that he, like most clerics, was influenced by clericalism. However, since then, he has had to read many of these files himself and has been sickened. In many of these cases in the US and Canada, the civil authorities refused to prosecute, and they are getting a pass by the media.

Don't worry. Humans fail, but the Holy Spirit guides the Church. I think that the rage against the Pope now is misplaced, from people who not only tolerate but promote the same behaviors.

For instance, the Boy Scouts are condemned for not allowing gay scoutmasters, but the Church is condemned for allowing gay predators around young people, even as she is also condemned for not allowing overt gays to be ordained.

Moreover, many of the same groups that crucify the Church over tolerating abusers of adolescents want an age of consent of 12 for boys and the freedom to take 12-year-old girls to get birth control and abortions without parental consent.

Mary Ann

Barbara Ann replied:

Dear Michael:

I certainly understand, and agree the Faith is not about debate!! The behavior and cover-ups are not taught in the Roman Catholic Church. Contrary to your pontificating — I certainly do believe in the Holy Spirit and in Confession.

However, there is something fundamentally wrong when the largest educated group of pedophiles are in the Roman Catholic Church. I do believe my rage against the Pope is misplaced — perhaps it should be against satan who is at work 24/7.

I understand that I have been unfair in my opinions, however, I shall place my trust in the
Holy Spirit, and hope and pray we Roman Catholics are blessed with a more worldly, and realistic Pontiff in the future.

I still believe that priests should be allowed to make the choice to marry or not marry
— the Apostles for the most part were married, and I believe this decision was made for economic reasons. That is just my humble opinion.

Thank you for yours,

Barbara Ann

Mary Ann replied:

Barbara —

I wish I shared your optimism that the largest educated group of pederasts and pedophiles was in the Catholic Church. The data won't have it so.

Other Churches have the same percentage, only they don't have the organization to move people around. School districts have more offenders, and they move them between districts regularly. Then, of course, we have Hollywood, which lauds Roman Polanski.

Mary Ann

Barbara Ann replied:

Dear Mary Ann:

Thank you for your prompt and fair reply. I shall ponder upon your words. However, two wrongs never made a right.

God Bless You,

Barbara Ann

Mary Ann replied:

Barbara —

You are right that two wrongs don't make a right and it is unseemly and wrong for the Church to point to the sins of others as if they made the sins of her churchmen any better.

The Church needs to do the right thing:

  • do justice and reparation
  • clean out the ranks, and
  • clean up the vocations process

We do need a Pope who will react like any father of a child.

I hasten to add, that Pope Benedict by all reports is reacting more like a father than previous Popes have.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Barbara Ann —

Mary Ann, my colleague stated:
The incident in Germany does appear to be something that he did not exercise control over, to the extent that he knew about it. It appears that he, like most clerics, was influenced by clericalism.

How about a counter argument:

What if before 2001, there was a pedophile priest, that Ratzinger knew about in his diocese and did nothing?

My objective reply:

Shame on His eminence, but like I stated in a previous answer, we have to separate bad scandalous behavior by cardinals and bishops from the Teachings guarded by the Holy Spirit.

As I side note, when the lector reads the Mass intentions at Mass, most of them pray for vocations first.  I don't!

I pray first, that the seminaries will be cleansed of bad scandalous seminary professors then I pray for vocations.

If that bastard, the devil, can destroy the seminary environment, he has succeeded in bringing down the spirituality of the Church in the United States and the world.

This is something that every single cardinal and bishop in the world has to perpetually watch for. Just because a Catholic seminary today is pristine and pure, doesn't mean a year from now, the bishop will find the same culture. This why Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration should be in every Catholic seminary worldwide and why surprise Vatican seminary visitations will always be needed. 

RE: Married priests: We have married priests in the Roman Rite. All of the ones I'm aware of are converts from Anglicanism and Lutheranism. The diocesan practice of having married priests is a discipline and not a doctrine so, while the Pope could change this, in my opinion it is unlikely.

  • Why?

The priest then has two families he's responsible for: his physical family and spiritual family.

  • Which comes first?

It would just put too much weight on him as he would probably go crazy. I've also heard Protestant ministers who are married say:

You guys would be nuts to have a married priesthood.

Just my opinion. Sorry for the pontificating. If I open my mouth too much, colleagues like Mary Ann know how to put me in my place : ) LOL

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