The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Crisis
The Rhetoric of Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis
Recent developments in the field of sexual abuses perpetrated by Catholic clergymen have heightened the need to address and analyze the issue from different points of view. The concept of modernity is key to understand the internal but also the external debates on child sexual abuses within the Church. While the roots of the problem are old, the issue represents a new social challenge that generates a firestorm both inside and outside the ecclesiastical world. The purpose of this article is to analyze and comprehend the rhetoric and approach adopted by John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis toward clergy abuse around the world. Therefore, this article explores some of the official speeches delivered by them on various occasions, paying attention to the context and the terminology used to talk about abuses. The final goal is to understand the position of the three pontiffs mentioned on the issue and to figure out if there is a common thread between the appearance (public speeches) and the concrete measures taken (e.g., reforms of canon law, summits on abuse, removal of guilty priests).