The abuse cases of two priests in Arizona have cast further doubt on the Catholic church’s insistence that Pope Benedict XVI played no role in shielding pedophiles before he became pope. Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia “a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with.” There is no indication in the case files that Ratzinger responded.The details of the two cases come as other allegations emerge that Benedict – as a Vatican cardinal – was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality.”There’s no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed ‘satanic’ by their own bishop,” Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta’s victims, said Friday.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, called the accusations “absolutely groundless” and said the facts were being misrepresented. He said the delay in defrocking Teta was caused by a hold on appeals while the Vatican changed regulations over its handling of sex abuse cases. In the meantime, he said, cautionary measures were in place; Teta had been suspended since 1990.
A seven year delay because of a policy change?