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Austin Cline

Pope Benedict XVI Led Cover-Up of Pedophile Priests?

By October 6, 2006

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Pope Benedict XVI
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President of Poland
What involvement did Pope Benedict XVI with the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children committed by so many Catholic priests in America? Perhaps quite a bit. A recent report indicates that while he was still Cardinal Raztinger, he was personally responsible for issuing a document in 2001 instructing all bishops to put the interests of the church ahead of those of law enforcement - and children.

If there is any truth to these charges, it will be a serious blow to the credibility of Pope Benedict. Liberal Catholics are already wary of him for a long list of reasons. Conservative Catholics who are hoping for good things from this papacy will become more wary because few of them will be able to find rationalizations sufficient to justify threatening sexual abuse victims with excommunication if they talk.

The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated. ...

Five years ago he sent out an updated version of the notorious 1962 Vatican document Crimen Sollicitationis - Latin for The Crime of Solicitation - which laid down the Vatican's strict instructions on covering up sexual scandal. It was regarded as so secret that it came with instructions that bishops had to keep it locked in a safe at all times.

Cardinal Ratzinger reinforced the strict cover-up policy by introducing a new principle: that the Vatican must have what it calls Exclusive Competence. In other words, he commanded that all child abuse allegations should be dealt with direct by Rome.

Patrick Wall, a former Vatican-approved enforcer of the Crimen Sollicitationis in America, tells the programme: "I found out I wasn't working for a holy institution, but an institution that was wholly concentrated on protecting itself."

Source: This is London

The report also quotes Father Tom Doyle, a former Vatican lawyer who was reportedly dismissed for criticizing the church for its handling of child abuse allegations:

"What you have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy and to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen. When abusive priests are discovered, the response has been not to investigate and prosecute but to move them from one place to another. So there's total disregard for the victims and for the fact that you are going to have a whole new crop of victims in the next place. This is happening all over the world."

If the allegations can be substantiated to any reasonable degree, the political and legal fallout could be quite serious — and should be quite serious, too. Officials in the Catholic church who deliberately, consciously pushed policies which placed the political interests of churches ahead of the moral and legal interests of victims of sexual abuse deserve to be punished. The church shouldn't be the one to punish them because the church has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted with such responsibility. Civil authorities will have to be given this task and no one in the church should hide behind any traditional religious privileges — not if they have a moral bone in their bodies.

 

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Comments
October 6, 2006 at 2:39 pm
(1) John says:

One of the defences of ecclessiastical authorities of their “tolerance” of paedophiles is their assertion that they were unaware of the deeply recidivist nature of paedophilia. I cannot understand this assertion considering that for many centuries the Church should have had “intelligence” from its confessionals that sex acts with children were common and repeating. Notwithstanding the secrecy of the confessional (protecting names of penitants) surely it cannot be expected that the Church authorities were so naïve as to the real nature of this human abberation

October 13, 2006 at 2:56 pm
(2) Bob Howard says:

As a child I went to Catholic schools. Around the late 1940s a Catholic religious was arrested for pedophilia. I can’t recall if it was a priest or teaching Brother. The case was well known because of media publicity. I was only around 12 at the time and didn’t really understand the seriousness of the case.

One of the teachers passed on the Church’s attitude to us. They seemed to resent the fact that the civil authorities became involved. The fact this man had committed a crime was not recognised. He had sinned against God and that was the important thing. The church looked on it as a religious matter where the man concerned had to confess his sin and seek God’s forgiveness.

The Catholic Church in it’s own eyes was above the law. Looking back now I don’t doubt the Church’s reputation had a lot to do with it.

October 24, 2006 at 3:37 pm
(3) GrandmaVickie says:

Here in Phoenix, a bishop was involved in a fatal hit and run. He was driving while intoxicated. Many people wrote into the local newspaper that this is a church matter and the law should not be involved. This was not a church matter, the guy killed someone! If he had simply broken a church rule or maybe his vows, it might have been a church problem. He was prosecuted.

March 27, 2010 at 9:04 am
(4) Jen says:

Austin Cline ought to be ashamed for writing an article that contains no facts, but is merely speculative and full of his own personal bias. Love this sentence, “What involvement did Pope Benedict XVI with the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children committed by so many Catholic priests in America? Perhaps quite a bit. Really? Because I didn’t read about quite a bit or any actual evidence from your article.

Love this one too, “Liberal Catholics are already wary of him for a long list of reasons.” Long list? Like what? You mean due to the fact that Pope Benedict can’t change Truth to better fit with liberal opinions?

This was cute too, “If the allegations can be substantiated to any reasonable degree, the political and legal fallout could be quite serious — and should be quite serious, too” Oh, thank you Mr. Cline for insisting what Catholics SHOULD be upset with IF anything he alluded to in his opinion piece may actually have some truth to it.

And of course his beautiful ending line, “not if they have a moral bone in their bodies.” Hmm? Moral bone, huh? You mean like repeating allegations with no substantial evidence? Too funny.

Mr. Cline’s piece proves while the Church, more than anyone else, might need to keep things on the DL until all the pieces of information come in and can be properly assessed. Because time and time again the Cline’s of the world and the rest of the media prove their hatred of the Church and feel permitted to relay information regardless of facts and attack the Church with not a shred of fairness. Gee, the Church wanted to handle things on its own first is a natural reaction when it knows very well, that any other route would hardly be fair to all parties involved. Thank you Mr. Cline for showing us everyone out there already knows the Catholic Church is wrong. We don’t need to here the whole story. Who needs the facts? I mean we’re talking about the Church. It’s just got to be wrong, right? LOL!

January 12, 2012 at 4:52 am
(5) Ron says:

WOW! Are you in denial ! The known facts in this case are irrefutable ! The Church covered up these horrendous crimes and this is now a matter of public record ! So how about you start worrying about these poor scarred children instead of your phony hypocritical pope ! Just keep your hands over your eyes as you seem to be very good at it ! Shame on you !

March 27, 2010 at 9:22 am
(6) Austin Cline says:

Austin Cline ought to be ashamed for writing an article that contains no facts, but is merely speculative and full of his own personal bias.

Feel free to point out any.

Love this sentence, “What involvement did Pope Benedict XVI with the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children committed by so many Catholic priests in America? Perhaps quite a bit. Really? Because I didn’t read about quite a bit or any actual evidence from your article.

Perhaps you missed the part where he instructed bishops to put the interests of the church ahead of the interests of the victims and police.

Love this one too, “Liberal Catholics are already wary of him for a long list of reasons.” Long list? Like what?

His attempts to dial back the reforms of Vatican II. His intransigence on married priests. His preference for theocrats and even sedevacantists over liberals.

You mean due to the fact that Pope Benedict can’t change Truth to better fit with liberal opinions?

Calling one’s bias and opinions “Truth” is a good way to pretend that one doesn’t have to make an argument for a position, but it doesn’t actually make it “Truth”.

This was cute too, “If the allegations can be substantiated to any reasonable degree, the political and legal fallout could be quite serious — and should be quite serious, too” Oh, thank you Mr. Cline for insisting what Catholics SHOULD be upset with IF anything he alluded to in his opinion piece may actually have some truth to it.

You’re quite right on this point. I shouldn’t presume to tell Catholics that they should be upset if their pope put the public image of his religious organization ahead of investigating crimes and helping the victims of crimes. Many Catholics — like you for example — might actually agree with such a policy. Would you?

And of course his beautiful ending line, “not if they have a moral bone in their bodies.” Hmm? Moral bone, huh? You mean like repeating allegations with no substantial evidence? Too funny.

No, what’s funny is that you think the quoted line is an “allegation.” It’s not. It’s a statement of my position: no one with any moral sense should give a church the job to punish people for criminal activity.

Mr. Cline’s piece proves while the Church, more than anyone else, might need to keep things on the DL until all the pieces of information come in and can be properly assessed.

So, you’re an apologist for private organizations withholding information from the police in a criminal investigation.

Because time and time again the Cline’s of the world and the rest of the media prove their hatred of the Church and feel permitted to relay information regardless of facts and attack the Church with not a shred of fairness.

Yet, you can’t point to anything unfair in the above.

Gee, the Church wanted to handle things on its own first is a natural reaction

Yes, it is natural for any private organization to want to “handle” criminal behavior among its own members. Even families are known to withhold information about criminal activity from the authorities. It’s quite “natural” to want to protect “your own.”

when it knows very well, that any other route would hardly be fair to all parties involved.

Indeed, it’s not at all fair for the police and civil investigators to actually handle the investigation of criminal activity. We should give private organizations the freedom to spend days, months, and even years to “handle things on their own” then, maybe, let the authorities know long after any evidence is gone.

Thank you Mr. Cline for showing us everyone out there already knows the Catholic Church is wrong.

Yes, anyone with any moral sense knows that it’s wrong to hide criminal activity like the Catholic Church did. It’s also generally known that doing so is itself a crime.

March 29, 2010 at 9:50 am
(7) Ralph says:

The Pope is part of the cover-up, he is as guilty as anyone else. He is not above the law. He should face a court. Catholics are sick PEDOPHILES. SICK, SICK, SICK.

April 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm
(8) Paul Buchman says:

It appears to me that the Vatican, many priests and laypeople think that Roman Church officials should have something akin to diplomatic immunity. Roman emperors allowed the xian church jurisdiction over its officials in temporal matters but that no longer applies in today’s world. If there is reason to believe that a priest committed a crime, secular police authorities should investigate. Why should it be otherwise?

And yes, I am biased against the Roman (no longer Catholic) Church, and for good reason. History shows that they have always been a criminal organization and still are. They have no intention of reforming. They should be banned from all civilized societies.

April 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm
(9) gloria says:

Austin,
I love your blog, but what is a “sedevacantist”?
Thanks

April 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

what is a “sedevacantist”?

Literally, sede-vacantist is someone who believes the “seat” is “empty.” This refers to Catholics who say that the “Throne of Peter” is empty — that those called “pope” are not legitimate popes and thus shouldn’t be treated as such.

June 16, 2010 at 11:45 am
(11) joseph giuseppe says:

SOLUTION TO PEDOPHILIA IN THE CLERGY.
The article “And the Pope Cried” rolling in the Internet is touching but it does not convince everyone. However, it surfaces the problem of pedophilia in the catholic clergy, which many say is connected to the CELIBACY because the church does not allow priests to marry. Human beings were created to procreate and to have progeny (children). The bible says that man must procreate and multiply! To date, priests do not follow this specific God’s commandment in the holy bible. We recognize that there are many honorable priests who repudiate pedophilia, but pedophile priests were also once honorable and of high morals. Hundreds of years ago the church instituted the vow of CELIBACY within the clergy. But the consequence is that most priests live with the innate sexual desire for they are human beings. So priests with tendency of pedophilia end up committing the sin with precocious ALTAR BOYS! To say that pedophiles also exist in many segments of our society, as Priest Moser said, does not excuse nor exonerate pedophile priests with sexual desire towards adolescents. This is an inadmissible crime increasingly occurring within the church!
1st FACT: Although pedophilia is more of a psychological nature, the Catholic priests always have the chance to be alone with altar boys in their parishes or churches, especially when they prepare for mass, baptisms, or other events in the church. Mostly they dress alongside the “altar boys”. Slowly those priests with pedophile tendencies develop a sexual desire towards some particular boy! It’s said that pedophile priests even dream about the boy they fancy their sexual desires and masturbate in the solitude of their bedrooms! Masturbating priests is nothing new for this has been covered in the news from interviews with ex-priests who left the church and confessed doing it. They did not take celibacy too serious and could not live the oppressed life of sexual desires due to the “vows of chastity”. Therefore, a pedophile priest is a bomb ready to go off. This crime affects disastrously not only the church’s reputation but also all those honorable priests who take that vow seriously!
1st SOLUTION: If the church changed the regulation of celibacy and allowed priests to marry, many psychologists say that 99% of the sexual offences against altar boys would go down or disappear in the catholic clergy. The proof is obvious and already exists: ALL other religions allow marriage of their priests, bishops, deacons, etc. And consequently we do not hear about pedophilia occurring in any of those churches. This sexual abuse only happens inside the CATHOLIC church. If the church ended CELIBACY or made it optional, the POPE would not be crying nowadays as he did. Therefore, the crime of pedophilia in the clergy is entirely the Church’s fault.
2nd SOLUTION: The Pope should eliminate the presence of `Altar Boys” in the church. Why does it have to be adolescent boys helping the priests? When Jesus said, “Let the children come to me”, He did not mean come help the clergy. The church should allow only old, retired men to help priest, not young boys. Putting an end to altar boys would cut the problem by the roots. Also, it would be a good social work to allow integration of the elderly building up the “good will” of the church. Why hasn’t any priest suggested this solution to the Pope yet? And why does it have to be BOYS helping the priests? Why?
2nd FACT: Many Christians do not know, or perhaps have not researched on their own, the fact that JESUS was married. According to independent historians, His wife was Mary Magdalena. Long ago this fact was obscured by the catholic clergy. Although Jesus is the son of God in the flesh, Jesus and God were one in purpose, objectives, and intention. To put simply, Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi and no rabbi passed the age of 25 years old without marrying, unless due to mental sickness or physical inability. Historians say that probably He got married between the age of 18 and 25 as it was common in the Jewish tradition in those days. Perhaps that is why no one knows much about Him between the age of 14 and 28 years. Marriage, as both a natural institution and a sacred union, is rooted in God’s plan and comes as a gift from the hands of God. However, how can any priest teach anything about marriage if they have NO experience in this area?
Why don’t we have written evidence that Jesus was married? The answer is with the Ecumenical Conclave (LXX) around 1400-1600 when the clergy removed written references from the canonic books that Jesus was married. But nowadays clues are surfacing to indicate that Jesus was indeed married. In the bible it is written about the marriage party where Jesus himself served wine to the guests. The Jews nowadays say that at that time only the FIANCÉE was allowed, or was a custom, to serve wine to the guests. Jesus served them. Perhaps the Conclave did not remove this detail from the books because they did not know Jewish traditions. The Ecumenical group 70 consisted of Bishops and Cardinals who put together the canonic books into one VOLUME – consequently giving origin to the catholic BIBLE. In the process they removed or left out many important information to produce a bible the way they wanted. Before that the church had already committed all priests to celibacy.
For instance, they did not include in the Bible the “Book of Mary”, which nowadays is interpreted as being written by Mary Magdalena. She appears sitting on the right side of Jesus in the painting of the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. She also walked next to Jesus and followed the apostles wherever they went. She and the Mother of Jesus are seen together crying at the site of the crucified Jesus. Why only the two women are present at Jesus crucifixion? Have you really thought about it? Further, there are slight hints (not proved yet) that Jesus and Mary had children, which is alluded to in the recent film “The Da Vinci Code”. Notwithstanding, if they indeed had children as any other rabbi in those days, this would be the most wonderful fact for the world to know. What better news to know that our Savior Jesus gave us the example and sanctified the vows of marriage himself, having had a family of his own, and obeyed God’s law for men to procreate, are all part of God’s plan for creation? Unfortunately, the Catholic church removed many details when they (LXX) compiled the bible during those years to preserve celibacy among the clergy. All this makes sense, if any Christian thinks about it with an open mind and his heart open to God’s spirit of revelation.
3rd SOLUTION: If the catholic church changed the rule of celibacy to allow or make it optional for any PRIEST to marry, they would be following the example that JESUS gave us. Such example includes that men should be married, have children, have FAMILY and progeny. That was God’s intention when He created Adam and Eve. What better man, other than Jesus, to show us the example of becoming a father of a family in a marriage blessed by the church, and raise children in the ways that God intended? Jesus would be the supreme example for all human beings to follow. However, the church “cut off its own legs” when it did not include in the Bible all indications of a “married Jesus” in the canonic books LXX, They eliminated more than one third of the books, and this was a great error that now hurts the church. May the Lord allow the catholic church someday to come to the realization that they must change the rules and eliminate CELIBACY. The non-pedophiles priests should initiate this change. The altar boys worldwide would be very thankful to them. And God would be much more content with the church.
Yes, the Pope cried when he heard cases of pedophilia perpetrated by priests…. But His crying does not help nor change the attitude of abusive pedophile or gay priests. Therefore their sexual desire is likely to go on. But God is the one who cries more. Among men, the Pope should act on the CAUSE of the problem and not on the SYMPTOM. Crying alone does not help. As my grandfather used to say: “PIANGERE MAI RITORNA IL MORTO – crying does not bring back the dead”.
SUMMARY:
— Allow priests to marry, or give them a choice to do so if they desire.
— Eliminate altar boys in the church.
— Enlist only elderly men to help priests during the mass.

Yours truly,
Giuseppe

June 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm
(12) Chris Morton says:

Jen is obviously a Catholic whore: definition – a woman who sells her soul to the Catholic church.

While Cardinal Ratzinger (the Pope) was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the “Sacred Congregaton of the Holy Office,” the historical Inquisition he sent out a 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus which clarified the confidentiality of internal Church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse, and who became targets of controversy during the continuing sex abuse scandal.

It is important to put the Pope’s actions in context. This is possible by reading Gary Wills’ book, “Papal Sin: Structure of deceit.” Gary Wills is a Catholic and he (somewhat ironically) like Ratzinger, wrote about St. Augustine (also, somewhat ironically, St. Augustine’s most famous writings include his “Treatise on Truth” which deals, particularly, with truth in the church. Wills reminds us on the first page of his book that Pope’s are sinners, by quoting Dante describing part of hell:

“Here Popes and prelates butt their tonsured pates,
Mastered by avarice that nothing sates.” Inferno 7.46-48.

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