The pope and sexual abuse of children

This video from CNN in the USA is called Catholic abuse scandal.

From British daily The Guardian:

Pope implicated in fresh allegations over sex abuse by second Catholic priest

Revelations about paedophile priest‘s transfer overseen by then archbishop of Munich follow Vatican storm over US abuse

* Stephen Bates

* Friday 26 March 2010 11.36 GMT

Fresh revelations have been made directly implicating Pope Benedict XVI in mishandling the case of a paedophile priest in his former archdiocese of Munich. The allegations come a day after the Vatican responded angrily to the allegation that the former Cardinal Ratzinger had ignored an American diocese’s request that another predatory priest should be defrocked.

According to the New York Times, the former Cardinal Ratzinger, as Archbishop of Munich, attended a meeting in January 1980 at which the transfer of Father Peter Hullermann from the diocese of Essen where his parishioners had accused him of abusing boys to Munich was agreed.

The move was meant to allow him to undergo therapy, but instead he was immediately posted to a parish in Bavaria, where he continued to abuse children.

Previously, the Vatican has asserted that the pope had not known of Hullermann‘s transfer and not been responsible for taking any decisions in the case, which occurred a year before he moved to Rome to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s main doctrinal disciplinary body. But a memorandum discovered by the paper show[s] that he attended the meeting and that the reason for the priest’s transfer was clear, even though not explicitly stated.

Hullermann had been removed from his previous parish in September 1980 and did not deny the allegations made against him. Correspondence at the end of that year referred to a formal request that he should be transferred for psychiatric treatment in Munich. Although sexual abuse of boys was not explicitly mentioned in the letter from Essen, it stated: “Reports from the congregation in which he was last active made us aware that Chaplain Hullermann presented a danger that caused us to immediately withdraw him from pastoral duties.” It warned of possible legal action but suggested that Hullermann could teach religion “at a girls’ school”.

A report, drawn up by one of Ratzinger’s closest colleagues before the meeting stated, that a young chaplain needed “medical-psychotherapeutic treatment in Munich” and a place to live with “an understanding colleague”. It presented the priest from Essen as a “very talented man, who could be used in a variety of ways.” As soon as he arrived, however, Hullermann was placed in a parish, where he continued to abuse boys before being convicted six years later.

The suggestion that Ratzinger was more closely involved in the case than previously suggested followed allegations that Ratzinger, as head of the congregation in Rome in the mid 1990s, acceded to a plea from American priest Father Lawrence Murphy that he should not be disciplined or defrocked for abusing as many as 200 deaf boys at a school where he taught between 1950 and 1974. Murphy died a few months later and there have been allegations that earlier bishops in his diocese had ignored the complaints against him and that the diocese tried to hush the matter up.

The continuing and spreading allegations are devastating the authority and reputation of the Church – the world’s largest Christian denomination with more than 1 billion adherents. Previously the Vatican has denied accusations that it has covered up systemic abuse by priests in many countries for decades in the interests of protecting its reputation. It formerly blamed a handful of perverted priests and even suggested that abuse was a problem of the church in “Anglo-Saxon” countries, including the Irish diaspora.

The pope has apologised for the way the church handled allegations without accepting any personal responsibility for his actions in Munich nor during his 24 years as head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in Rome. However, the accusations are getting closer to him all the time.

The Vatican’s spokesman, attempting to stem the relentless tide of allegations that the church – and now the pope himself – covered up or dismissed complaints against clergy paedophiles in the 1980s and 90s, complained about an “obvious and ignoble attempt to strike at all costs Benedict and his closest collaborators”. A statement published in the official Vatican daily paper L’Osservatore Romano said: “The prevalent tendency in the media is to gloss over the facts and force interpretations with the aim of spreading an image of the Catholic church almost as if it were the only (institution) responsible for sexual abuses.”

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the church in Ireland, will shortly offer his resignation following accusations that he as a young priest took part in a cover up and the silencing of victims of a paedophile priest there. The cardinal has apologised, but has so far resisted calls that he should go.

Cardinal Defends Pope but Calls for “Housecleaning”; Italian TV Airs Allegations From Ex-Students at School for Deaf: here.

Survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Boston: The Catholic Church Leaders Have Not Cleansed the Cancer of Child Sexual Abuse: here.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell demanded the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday following allegations of a cover-up of child sex abuse by the Catholic church: here.

17 thoughts on “The pope and sexual abuse of children

  1. Pope ‘didn’t know’

    Vatican issues fresh denial on Munich case

    26 March, 14:49

    Pope ‘didn’t know’ (ANSA) – Vatican City, March 26 – Pope Benedict XVI did not know of a decision to reassign a paedophile priest to Church work when he was Munich archbishop in the 1980s, the Vatican reiterated Friday, describing a fresh New York Times report as “mere speculation”.

    Asked to comment on the NYT’s claim that the future pope was aware of the decision to transfer Father Peter Hullermann, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi referred reporters to a denial published earlier this month by the Munich archdiocese.

    In that denial, the archdiocese said “the then archbishop (Joseph Ratzinger) did not know of the decision to reassign priest H. to pastoral work”.

    Benedict’s then immediate subordinate, former Munich vicar general Msgr Gerhard Gruber, has “taken full responsibility for his own, mistaken decision,” Lombadi quoted the denial as saying.

    As Catholics worldwide rallied to Benedict’s defence, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, wrote in The Times of London that in his previous role as doctrinal watchdog, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made “important changes” to canon law on paedophilia. He said that one of the Vatican’s priorities since 2001 had been to encourage Church officials to report cases to the police.

    If this did not happen in many cases, Nichols wrote, it was “cause for profound regret”. A German bishop in the central city of Fulda, Heinz Joseph Algermissen, admitted “heavy omissions” by the Catholic Church in Germany.

    “We did not sufficiently respect the suffering of the victims,” Algermissen told German daily Frankfurter Rundschau. In Rome, the Preacher to the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, warned against “generalising” on paedophile priests but added: “these things should never be hushed up”.


  2. French bishops ‘ashamed’ of abuse

    NYT says pope knew about Munich case

    26 March, 14:06

    (ANSA) – Vatican City, March 26 – French bishops wrote to Pope Benedict XVI Friday voicing “shame” over the Catholic Church’s widening child sex abuse scandal after it appeared to move closer to the pope.

    “We all feel shame and dismay over the abominable acts perpetrated by some priests and religious,” the bishops wrote from their spring plenary session.

    But they also sent a “cordial message of support” to the pontiff “in the difficult period our Church is going through”.

    On Thursday the New York Times claimed Benedict in his past role as the Vatican’s pointman on abuse cases failed to act against a Milwaukee priest who abused some 200 deaf children as head of a school from 1950 to 1974.

    The Vatican daily l’Osservatore Romano reacted by saying the report was part of an “ignoble” campaign to smear the pope.

    On Friday the Italian bishops’ daily Avvenire, said the pope was the victim of a “ferocious” attack.

    On Friday the NYT returned to the issue of Benedict’s past, claiming that, as Munich archbishop in the 1980s, he had been aware of the case of a paedophile priest reassigned to Church work.

    Earlier this month the pope’s ex-No 2 in the German city took responsibility and claimed the future pontiff had not been informed.

    But the NYT said Benedict, then archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, was “copied in” to the letter transferring the priest.

    On Thursday the US daily claimed Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ignored appeals from US bishops in 1996 to defrock Father Lawrence Murphy.

    The Vatican replied by saying the pope was only informed of the case shortly before Murphy died two years later.

    The NYT accusations against the pope gained worldwide headlines Friday, picked up by the BBC, The Times, Al Jazeera, Le Monde and El Pais among others.


    Also on Friday, the Legionaries of Christ order issued an official apology to the victims of its founder, Mexican Father Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008 in disgrace after it emerged he had abused scores of seminarians over decades and fathered several children.

    After a long campaign by victims, Benedict ordered an internal probe which reached its conclusions earlier this month.

    The Legionaries said in their statement that they would accept “with filial obedience” any action resulting from the probe, whose findings remain secret.

    Back in Germany, the latest country after the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherands and Austria to be touched by scandal, a fresh case emerged Friday of alleged abuse at an orphanage in Schleswig-Holstein, already reported to the police.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated Friday that “we must do everything we can in future to evert such terrible crimes”.

    German daily Der Spiegel asked Friday “Why is the pope still in charge?” after allegedly overseeing cover-ups.

    Italian conservative politicians rallied to the pope’s defence Friday with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, a member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, calling the “attacks” on the pontiff “scandalous and shameful”.

    On Thursday evening PdL heavyweights claimed there was a “very clear plot” against the pope.

    Benedict recently sent a much-awaited letter to Ireland expressing revulsion at decades of abuse and cover-ups, but did not announce any action against the hierarchy.

    The pontiff has accepted the resignation of one out of four bishops who offered to stand down after two damning reports.

    Another bishop resigned in a case that pre-dated the reports.


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