“If a pope emeritus decides to stay silent, it’s one thing and can be defended. But speaking and telling a tiny part and a very personal version of the story, it’s hard to defend,” he said on Twitter.”Everything we know in the global history of the Catholic abuse crisis makes Benedict XVI’s take published yesterday very thin or worse: a caricature of what happened during in the Catholic Church during the post-Vatican II period – with all its ingenuities and some tragic mistakes,” he tweeted.Church historian Christopher Bellitto questioned if Benedict, who turns 92 next week, was being manipulated by others. He said the essay undermined Francis’ own efforts to steer the church out of the crisis.Bellitto said the essay omitted the critical conclusions that arose from the pope’s February sex abuse summit in Rome, including that “abusers were priests along the ideological spectrum, that the abuse predated the 1960s, that it is a global and not simply Western problem, that homosexuality is not the issue in pedophilia.””It is catastrophically irresponsible, because it creates a counter-narrative to how Francis is trying to move ahead based on the 2019 summit,” he said. “The essay essentially ignores what we learned there.”David Gibson at Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture agreed with that assessment. “For a retired pope to try to undo the critical work of a sitting pope and on such a crucial issue seems … bad,” he said.

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