August 24, 2003


IRONDALE, Alabama, AUG. 24, 2003 ( For Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the crisis the Church is going through, particularly in the United States, is “a weakness of faith” that calls for conversion and “clear moral teaching.”

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressed this conviction in an interview with EWTN news director Raymond Arroyo, in Rome, for the news show “The World Over Live.” The complete interview, in English, will be aired by Alabama-based EWTN on Friday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time).

The cardinal answered far-ranging questions posed by Arroyo on, among other topics, the root causes of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States, the Vatican official’s estimation of the Church’s future, and a comment on his possible retirement.

On the latter, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “Yes, I had the desire to retire in 1991, 1996, 2001, because I had the idea I could write some books and return to my studies as Cardinal Martini did. But, on the other hand, seeing the suffering Pope, I cannot say to the Pope, ‘I will retire, I will write my books.’ I have to continue.”

Asked what he identifies as the root cause of the sexual abuse crisis, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “The general element is a weakness of human beings, even of priests. Temptations are present also for the priests. I think the essential point is a weakness of faith.”

“So, two things are essential: Conversion to a profound and deep faith, with a life of prayer and sacraments, and clear moral teaching and awareness of the teaching that the Church has the Holy Spirit and can give us the way,” the cardinal said.

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