Pope Benedict XVI links church's abuse scandals to 1960s sexual revolution and "homosexual cliques" in seminaries

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      One of the most conservative popes in the modern era has lashed out against pornographic films and the decline of morality in the 1960s, citing this as the cause of a rash of sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

      In a 6,000-word recently published essay, the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI declared that the freewheeling 1960s led to, among other things, sex films on airplanes triggering violence among passengers.

      He also claimed that clothing in that era "provoked aggression"—and that "pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate" as a result of the "Revolution of '68".

      "The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were a consequence of all these developments," he stated. "At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenceless against these changes in society."

      In another passage, Pope Benedict wrote: "In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries."

      The essay was translated into English by Anian Christoph Wimmer.

      The former pope also alleged that pedophilia "did not become acute until the second half of the 1980s".

      "Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God," he declared.

      There was no mention in the essay of widespread sexual abuse of First Nations children in Canada in church-run residential schools—and much of this occurred long before the 1960s.

      Nor did he acknowledge that many gay people are highly offended when their sexual orientation is linked to pedophilia.