More evidence personally implicating Pope Benedict xvi in the Roman Catholic child abuse scandals emerged this week.
It involves a case in 1980 where a priest was transferred to Munich, then under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, after sexually abusing boys in Essen. It is common Catholic practice to simply relocate priests that commit this kind of crime, rather than punish them in any meaningful way. The head of personnel in Essen wrote to Ratzinger and called him over the phone, telling him that “there is a risk which has prompted us to immediately remove him from the parish,” and that “an official complaint has been lodged by members of the parish.” The priest was then allowed to go on abusing children, and received a fine and suspended sentence for this in 1986.
The Catholic Church claims that Ratzinger did not know that the priest was allowed to continue working with children. However, evidence released on November 29 indicates that the Catholic Church is lying. On July 31, 1980, the child-abusing priest wrote a letter headed, “For the personal attention of His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,” asking to be promoted from an assistant priest to a full priest. Witnesses confirm that the letter was delivered. In the letter, this priest detailed the work he was doing—even including copies of the church newspaper, where he wrote about his numerous projects that involved young children. The priest said that Ratzinger responded to the letter. If this is true, the pope knew that this known, unpunished child abuser had unfettered access to young people again.
While Pope Benedict has tried to distance himself from the pedophilia scandal, he has previously endorsed a key clause on secrecy contained in the Vatican’s 1962 instructions concerning any accusation brought against a priest involving solicitation. For more on the contribution Rome has made toward the perpetration of the child abuse scandal, read “Benedict xvi and Vatican Justice.” ▪