Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI denies covering up priest abuse

The first time we hear from Joseph Ratzinger (alias retired pope benedict) he denies covering up priest abuse. There is overwhelming evidence from reputable sources that massive cover up is exactly what he did -- so his statement is worse than a lie.

To make himself sound even less believable, Ratzinger/Benedict also said that the abuse by clergy was not worse than in other organizations that have access to children (boy scouts, school coaches, etc).  Is he saying that because others molest and rape children that it is acceptable that priests and nuns do the same? By saying, “we’re not the only ones” he is admitting his guilt.

Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who defends victims told the Religion News Service he considered Benedict's responses "alarming and disturbing." The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement saying: "The opposite of 'covering up' is 'uncovering' or 'disclosing,' We cannot name one predatory bishop, priest, nun, brother or seminarian who was publicly exposed because of Benedict."

Benedict also denied a claim that abuse is widespread in the catholic church.  Where is the proof that this is another lie?  Read the news articles, the legal testimonies, the horror stories by the victims (  Just a few examples:

Before Ratzinger was pope he was a cardinal and head of the vatican’s congregation for the doctrine of the faith whose supposed job was to “defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines.”  He spent his long career ensuring that the rape and abuse of children by clergy was never reported to the authorities.  It was his job to discipline pedophile priests. His “punishments” included giving them jobs away from children (promotions in some cases) or moving them to another parish. Those that were promoted had more opportunity to continue their abuse and hide other priests doing the same atrocities.

Peter Hullerman in 1980, was a known pedophile priest accused of kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old boy. Ratzinger sent him for psychiatric therapy and back to work within a few days. Ratzinger then personally oversaw the transfer of Hullerman from one diocese to another in Germany where he was later convicted for molesting boys in another parish.

Ratzinger knew about the sexual abuse of 200 boys from 1950 to 1974 at st. john's School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee. He called off internal punishment of the accused priest, Lawrence Murphy. These crimes are described in a documentary film, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." Barbie Latza Nadeau of the Daily Beast reviewed the film (9/9/12) that “the Holy See doesn’t want you to see.”  She said:

“…it should be compulsory viewing for all Catholics, whether they blame or defend the church, for its clarity and insight into just who holds responsibility for decades of child abuse at the hands of clergy.” said Nadeau.  Of course the Vatican had no comment.

In Oakland, CA youth ministry priest Stephen Kiesle’s colleagues found him to be molesting children; they wanted him defrocked but the future pope benedict XVI would not act on the case  for six years, while Kiesle still worked with children. The vatican even confirmed that ratzinger's signature was on letters about the case.
The Seattle Times wrote (April 9, 2010) that the letter may be the strongest challenge yet to the vatican's insistence that benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the church's watchdog office. Do we know how many more children were molested during those six years?  In his letters, ratzinger asks for “very careful review and more time. Time to molest? Ratzinger said he was concerned about the "good of the universal church" and about the young age of Kiesle, that punishment would ruin his reputation. How young were the victims and did he care about their lives?

Finally, after leaving the priesthood, Kiesle was arrested and charged in 2002 with 13 counts of child molestation from the 1970s. All but two counts were thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a California law extending the statute of limitations. He pleaded no contest in 2004 to a felony for molesting a young girl in his home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Was he ever sorry? More than a half-dozen victims reached a settlement in 2005 with the Oakland diocese saying Kiesle had molested them as children. "He admitted molesting many children and bragged that he was the Pied Piper and said he tried to molest every child that sat on his lap," said Lewis VanBlois, an attorney for six Kiesle victims who interviewed the former priest in prison. "When asked how many children he had molested over the years, he said 'tons.'”

There are many more instances of ratzinger/pope benedict refusing to take steps to protect children. According to Dave Altimari writing in The Hartford Courant (8/4/12), just days before joseph ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, the Norwich, CT diocese bishop requested that a priest, Thomas Shea, who sexually abused at least 15 girls in 11 different parishes be defrocked – Ratzinger did nothing about it. As a priest in good standing, Shea received a pension of about $15,000 a year and all of his health insurance costs, including his nursing home bills were paid for by the church.  Altimari included a quote: "No Catholic official on the planet has more power or knowledge about clergy sex crimes than Pope Benedict. Yet he still takes virtually no steps to help and sometimes, like this case, takes steps that hurt.''

You can decide whether Benedict/Ratzinger's words today reflect the documented history of what he previously said.