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The Catholic Church Sex Abuse Crisis

The Rhetoric of Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis

Sophia Rita Jadda    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



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).

April 29, 2022
April 29, 2022
Feb. 23, 2022

Keywords: Pope FrancisPope Benedict XVICatholic ChurchPope John Paul IISex abuse crisis

Copyright: © 2022 Sophia Rita Jadda. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.