The child-rape scandal has closed in on Pope Benedict XVI
It was probably only a matter of time before this happened, given that Benedict, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, was the author of the Vatican instruction to bishops to hush up the cases. Now scores of abuse charges have surfaced Germany and Austria, including the diocese where he used to preside as archbishop–while he was in charge there.
The Times has front-paged the story http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03… And the lead paragraph says it all.
A senior church official acknowledged that a German archdiocese made “serious mistakes” in reassigning an abusive priest during the pope’s tenure as its archbishop in the 1980s.
It makes for very juicy reading. Do check out the full story. Evidently there is no Latin for “It happened on my watch, and I take full responsibility.” I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before Benedict tries to defend himself with “I was only following orders.”
The story notes that this could undermine the pope’s “moral authority” (as if he had any) and undo his program for the “re-Christianization of Europe” (make your own joke). It should all be heaps of fun to watch as it develops over the next few months. There have to be smoking guns, and we can count on the European tabloids, if not the MSM there, to find them.
NOTE FROM PAM:
(Huff Post): The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.
The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict’s handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes – a position he held until his 2005 election as pope.
And they may lead to further questions about what the pontiff knew about the scope of abuse in his native Germany, when he knew it and what he did about it during his tenure in Munich and quarter-century term at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
the Munich archdiocese admitted that it had allowed a priest suspected of having abused a child to return to pastoral work in the 1980s, while Benedict was archbishop. It stressed that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger didn’t know about the transfer and that it had been decided by a lower-ranking official.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement late Friday noting that the Munich vicar-general who approved the priest’s transfer had taken “full responsibility” for the decision, seeking to remove any question about the pontiff’s potential responsibility as archbishop at the time.
Victims’ advocates weren’t persuaded.
“We find it extraordinarily hard to believe that Ratzinger didn’t reassign the predator, or know about the reassignment,” said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Over at Newser, the coverage is even more blunt — “Is the Pope Toast?”
Trouble, trouble. Not-going-away trouble. Run-out-of-office trouble. It’s a potentially transformative moment in matters of religion and of power, wherein even the infallible turns out to be vulnerable. Some of us live for such moments.
So far, it’s been an American thing which the Vatican has been remote and rather haughty about: vulgar American media. But now the story is everywhere in Europe and it includes the Pope’s brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.
It’s got all the elements: boarding schools, choirs, boys, yum. Msgr. Ratzinger was the choir master, of course. At the school in question, in Bavaria, where Pope Benedict was the Archbishop and his brother the choir master, there was, according to one of the accusers, an “elaborate system of sadistic punishments combined with sexual lust.” Indeed. While Msgr. Ratzinger, now 86, professes to have no knowledge of the lust, he is now apologizing for slapping students: “I, too, slapped people in the face, but I always had a bad conscience about it.”
…The truth will out. What is buried comes up. Even the Pope, quite possibly, is accountable. A development which may be bigger than we know.