Friday, 28 January 2022

Catholic Child Abuse News - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Misled Enquiry into Munich Abuses

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Future Pope Benedict XVI.
Complicit in the abuse of 4 children by paedophile priests in Munich.
Editorial: In penance for mishandled abuse cases, Benedict needs to give up 'pope emeritus' | National Catholic Reporter

More information is emerging from the enquiry into the sexual abuse of children in the Munich-Freising Archdiocese, Germany, when, as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of the archdiocese.

The enquiry by the law firm, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, who had been commissioned by the Catholic Church to investigate the numerous reports of cases in the dioceses, has concluded that Ratzinger was complicit in the abuse of 4 of the 65 victims by failing to act, even though he was aware of the predatory paedophile nature of the priests involved. The investigators also concluded that Pope Benedict's 80 plus page submission to the enquiry contained claims and assertions that were not credible - in essence, accusing Pope Benedict XVI of lying to them to try to cover up his culpability.

They also revealed that he had stated that he did not think a priest acted improperly when he masturbated in front of pre-pubescent girls, because he didn't touch them!

According to this editorial in the National Catholic Reporter:
In his 80-some pages of written testimony for the report's investigation, the 94-year-old Benedict initially denied any wrongdoing and drew some disturbing conclusions, such as indicating that a priest did not "act improperly" because he didn't touch prepubescent girls while masturbating in front of them.
In the same document, Pope Benedict XVI claimed he was not present at a 1980 meeting to discuss the transfer of a priest accused of misconduct. The enquiry team called this claim, "not very credible" and produced the minutes of the meeting which clearly recorded his presence. As I reported earlier, Benedict’s initial response was to claim that the minutes were "only proof that something was written down, not evidence that he read it". Through his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has since admitted that Ratzinger was present at the meeting and his denial had been "a clerical error - an oversight in the editing of his statement."

Funny how one of the most damaging allegations - that the then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger was aware that a predatory paedophile priest was being moved around in his dioceses and allowed to continue working as a priest - was the subject of a clerical error that should have been edited out, but was not!

According to this report in the Guardian:
In one of the cases examined by Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, a now notorious paedophile priest, Peter Hullermann, was transferred to Munich from Essen in western Germany where he had been accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy. He was reassigned to pastoral duties despite his history.

In 1986, he was convicted of molesting more children and given a suspended prison sentence. He continued to work with children for many years and his case is regarded as a pertinent example of the mishandling of abuse by the church.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the current archbishop of Munich and Freising, was also found to have failed to act in two cases of suspected abuse. Although he tendered his resignation to Pope Francis, this was rejected.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is calling for Benedict to give up his title as "pope emeritus". There are also calls for Pope Francis to impose sanctions on 94-year-old Benedict XVI, but, since a Pope is elected for life being officially chosen by God who guided the Conclave of Cardinals that elected him, and since having two popes in the Vatican simultaneously is unprecedented, the rules are being made up as they go along, so it is not clear what authority, if any, Pope Francis has over Benedict or whether Benedict can even resign his position and title.

For Benedict to be convicted of misconduct by a special Vatican tribunal would be cataclysmic for the Catholic Church and would raise all manner of questions of basic doctrine such as the doctrine of papal infallibility and divine guidance as God's personal representative on Earth. It would undermine the entire credibility of the Papacy.

There is probably more of this scandal to come and, if I can obtain an English translation of the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl report in full, I will post it here. So far only the index and the first 21 of the more than 1200 pages have been translated and published. A German language version is available here [PDF].


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