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Pope Benedict XVI's Questionable Qualifications


If Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's involvement with the Hitler Youth and his stonewalling of the pedophile priests scandal aren't enough to disqualify him from becoming pope, what would?


by Bill Berkowitz

April 21, 2005




Pedophilia Scandal: What of Ratzinger's role in the Vatican's much-delayed response to reports of massive sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in the US? In 2002, sounding almost Tom DeLayish, Ratzinger told the Catholic News Service that he thought that the pedophile priest scandal was being driven by a media set on making the Catholic Church look bad:


“I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offences among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.


“In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.


“Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion.”







Vive Le


Wednesday, May 04 2005 @ 08:38 PM MDT


Pope Benedict XVI and Pedophilia in the Catholic Church


Contributed by: Kevin Parkinson (entire article)


Two weeks ago, a new Commissioner, Justice Normand Glaude was named by Attorney General Michael Bryant to began a Public Inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of minors in Cornwall, Ontario.


Feedback from the community, including Paul Scott of Citizens for Community Renewal, stated that the Inquiry should be examining systemic failure in institutions such as the Catholic Church. In other words, what is the Church doing, or not doing, that has allowed abuses to happen under its watch. Furthermore, and more importantly, what action does the Catholic Church take when accusations of sexual abuse are made by alleged victims?


Evidence has been revealed this week in regards to Pope Benedict XVI and a letter that he wrote in May, 2001, stating that the “Crimine solicitationies” law(regarding strict secrecy in sex abuse cases) is still in effect. The law, to which former Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter refers, was issued by Pope John XXIII to every bishop in the world in 1962.


What this means is that as recently as 2001, Ratzinger supported and encouraged the curtain of secrecy over widespread sexual abuse by the clergy.


Two years ago, the Observer International in England published a story about the Vatican’s role in covering up sexual abuse. The story was ignored by other media for unknown reasons, but the article itself is very revealing.


One of the most explosive directives of the policy is that any clergyman in the church who defies the policy of secrecy, is liable for excommunication.


The document also calls for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to the Church. This ruling is consistent with what happened in the Cornwall- Alexandria diocese when $32,000 of hush money for an alleged victim was authorized by former Bishop Eugene LaRoque. It appears that he was following the orders given to him by the Vatican.


British lawyer, Richard Scorer, who acts for children abused by Catholic priests in the UK stated in 2003:


“ We always suspected that the Catholic Church systematically covered up abuse and tried to silence victims. Threatening excommunication to anybody who speaks out show the lengths the most senior figures in the Vatican are prepared to go to prevent the information getting out to the public domain.”


The letter signed by Cardinal Razinger in 2001, supporting the 1962 instruction, is still in force. That means that the new Pope, unless he states otherwise, will continue to enforce the code of silence into sexual abuse acts committed by Catholic priests.


I think that one of the challenges for the local Public Inquiry is obvious. The present Bishop for the Cornwall- Alexandria diocese should be one of the first people called to present evidence. If, as this article suggests, the Vatican has deliberately misled criminal investigations of sexual abuse cases by remaining silent and withholding evidence, then I think we have a serious breach which has led to a breakdown of the criminal justice system.


The upcoming Public Inquiry will have huge challenges ahead of it. One of the biggest will be to change the sexual abuse policies enforced by the Vatican, arguably the most powerful institution on the planet. To deny that change is needed is to deny a safe environment for our children and grandchildren in the future.




Vatican Playing Catch-Up on Pedophilia


San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2002

By Stephanie Salter



Several years ago when I was co-writing a series about financial and sexual corruption in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, a priest friend offered some insight into the church leadership's maddening code of silence. During his pre-Vatican II days in the seminary, he said, he'd been given some appalling advice from a long-time monsignor:


"He said that the formula for being a successful pastor was simple. Treat the people like mushrooms -- give them lots of manure and keep them in the dark."


I am reminded of the long (and pernicious) shelf-life of that mentality almost every time I see the Roman Catholic hierarchy attempt to deal with a serious internal problem that has spilled into public. No matter how pastoral the intentions of church leaders, the execution of the intentions often looks like too little, too late, gestures weighted towards saving face rather than genuine repair.


Take recent reports about new Vatican rules for handling priests accused of child sex abuse. Instead of mitigating an institutional ill that has hurt good priests and damaged the church's credibility (not to mention its pocketbook), the changes are so late in arriving, they'll likely engender as much resentment as comfort. Their presentation guarantees mistrust.


Typically, the new priest/pedophilia rules were not announced publicly to those of us who make up the globe's great unwashed flock of practicing Catholics. Approved last year by Pope John Paul II, they instead "surfaced," as the Associated Press put it, on Jan. 8, amid the Vatican's annual roundup of documents -- published in Latin.


Official notification had been confined months before to bishops and heads of religious orders and came in the form of a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a trusted lieutenant of the pope and one of the most powerful men in the Vatican. According to Melinda Henneberger of the New York Times, Ratzinger's letter carried a cover "specifically asking recipients not to divulge the information contained in the letter."


As for content, not all is yet known, but the rules hardly appear to be the panacea for sex abuse by clergy that the Catholic Church dearly needs.


On the plus side, the new policy echoes a sincerely apologetic pope, recognizing priest pedophilia as one of the more serious transgressions in the church. It also requires a bishop or head of an order to investigate "even a hint" of child sex abuse and report the findings to the Vatican.


Given that dioceses around the world have racked up an estimated $1 billion in legal fees and payouts for sex abuse cases, such centralized, mandated reporting is wise. Given that some 15 years have passed since the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a Dominican with a degree in Catholic canon law, submitted a 93-page report to U.S. bishops describing the nature, scope and severity of this country's pedophile priest problem, the changes are way overdue.


Other aspects of the new policy do not look so healthy. Under Ratzinger's purview, accused clergy can be tried in confidential -- some say "secret" -- Vatican-supervised tribunals. As part of that court process, accusers must lodge their charges no more than 10 years after their 18th birthday. No matter the circumstances of the alleged abuse nor its effects.


An unnamed but high-ranking Vatican official told the Times that the new rules are meant to "protect the rights of the accused." Anyone who has observed the sad unfolding of clergy pedophile cases worldwide knows that protections for accused priests rarely have been threatened.


Quite the contrary. Until U.S. bishops finally began to face the growing crisis in 1994, until civil juries began awarding multimillion dollar judgments to victims, and local law enforcement agencies overcame their fear of throwing parish priests in jail, decades of molestation were ignored, denied, discounted, covered up and -- to the detriment of all involved, especially the abusers -- perpetuated.


Wednesday, I'll examine two such cases now in the news. That one of the cases recently was dropped without explanation by Ratzinger's office, speaks to just how far the church still lags in addressing, let alone curing, the ill of sex abuse in its own body.



Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

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