Ratzinger allegedly allowed pedophile priest to continue ministry

Via the London Times:

The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The cleric went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria.

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. In 1986 he was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and fined DM 4,000 (£1,800 today). There have been no formal charges against him since.

The church has been accused of a cover-up after at least 170 allegations of child abuse by German Catholic priests. The scandal broke in January but the claims, which continue to emerge, span three decades. Critics say that priests were redeployed to other parishes rather than dismissed when they were found to be abusing children.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said that there had been no complaints against the priest during the therapy at a church community in Munich. It 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. “

Even if this is true, no one is denying that Ratzinger still sheltered H and did not report his first offense.

The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said. “The repeated employment of H in pastoral duties was a serious mistake … I deeply regret that this decision led to offences against youths. I apologise to all those who were harmed.” He did not indicate whether the convicted paedophile would be allowed to continue working in the church.

An American group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said it “boggles the mind to hear a German Catholic official claim that a credibly accused paedophile priest was reassigned to parish work without the knowledge of his boss, then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger”. Any expulsion of a priest from the Church, however, must go through the Vatican.

The Pope was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 and then moved to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post that he held until his election as pontiff five years ago after the death of John Paul II.

Priest H worked in an old people’s home for two years after his conviction. He then moved to the town of Garching, where he became a curate and later a church administrator. In May 2008 he was removed from his duties in Garching and was not allowed to work with young people. He still works in the diocese, according to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which broke the story.

//

Via the NY Times:

The archdiocese said in a statement on Friday that the priest was moved to Munich in 1980 for therapy with the approval of Archbishop Ratzinger. Vicar General Gerhard Gruber took responsibility for allowing him to return to pastoral work, where he later was convicted of sexually abusing minors.

“You see how they just kept moving him around,” Wilfried F. said. “He could keep doing it like before.”

In the interview on Saturday, Monsignor Scicluna also addressed accusations that the Vatican was obstructing justice by imposing secrecy on reports of abuse.

In 2001, Benedict, who was then in charge of Vatican investigations of abuse allegations, sent a letter to bishops counseling them to forward all cases of abuse of minors to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where they were to be subject to secrecy.

Previously, Ratzinger had come under criticism for failing to act against Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of his own semi-cult Legion of Christ.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: