13 March 2010

Rome, we have a problem...

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry

"...The priest was sent from Essen to Munich for therapy in 1980 when he was accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, who was then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

The priest, identified only as H, was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing minors after he was moved to pastoral work in nearby Grafing."
"Identified only as H," huh? The fact that that Father Bad Touch's privacy is worth more protection now, than the children's well-being was, then, speaks volumes.
The Archdiocese of Munich...said that the decision to let him continue working in Grafing was taken by Gerhard Gruber, now 81, who was vicar general of the archdiocese.

The Vatican said that Mgr Gruber had taken “full responsibility” for the priest’s move back into pastoral work but did not comment further.

Mgr Gruber said that the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower-level officials. “The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said.
Given the repercussions, I'm sure the Vatican is more than willing to let the good Monsignor take the bullet for this one, but come on:

"The cardinal could not deal with everything?"

We're not talking about some seminarian getting caught filching cash out of the poor box; this is the reassignment of a known sexual predator. (For the record, the enforced therapy stint certainly removes any "allegeds" out of that one). Even in a diocese of 1,000, we're to believe that that was the sort of decision that was left up to "lower level officials?"

Best case scenario, we have a situation where the sitting Pope was an absentee landlord for much of his career, less aware about what was happening on his watch than Mr. Furley from Three's Company. Worst case, ol' Benedict is yet another member of the Church hierarchy to be guilty of kicking the can down the road when confronted with an abusive priest.

Great choice, eh?

I was raised Catholic and am, by no means, a knee-jerk Vatican basher, which is part of my biggest problem with all of this. By perpetuating the secrecy, and compounding it with claims of ignorance and fall guy-ism, all Rome is doing is further damaging the reputations and public perception of the innocent majority of rank-and-file clergy and parochial educators who are stained by the hierarchy's decades of malfeasance.

Like the children, those individuals deserve better.

3.14.10 -- Update (courtesy Americablog):
Pope being set up over Munich sex abuse case, says Vatican

Father Federico Lombardi appeared to suggest in an interview on Vatican Radio that the pope, who also has strong links to the city of Regensburg, was the victim of a plot.

"It's rather clear that in recent days there have been people who have searched – with notable tenacity – in Regensburg and Munich for elements to personally involve the holy father in the question of the abuses," Lombardi said. "To any objective observer it's clear that these attempts have failed."

The Marion Barry defense? That's really how you want to go?

Given the egregious outcome, whether the "Holy Father" was involved at the time or whether he was not--in what can only be seen a a gross abdication of responsibility--either way, it's to his eternal shame.

No outsourcing necessary to connect those dots...

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