I have been asked, in a typically off-topic fashion, by our pro-abortion terrorist friend Operation CounterStrike, to address the recent slanders against Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI.
Here’s a summary statement by the Vatican press secretary:
In a note read on Vatican Radio on Saturday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said it was “evident that in recent days there are those who have tried, with a certain aggressive tenacity, in Regensburg and in Munich, to find elements to involve the Holy Father personally in issues of abuse.” He added, “It is clear that those efforts have failed.”
It started when the media and government focused on the Regensburg-Domspatzen choir and boarding school, where Monsigneur Georg Ratzinger, the Holy Father’s older brother, was choirmaster for 30 years. Msgr. Ratzinger has not been charged with any kind of sexual misconduct. He has been asked to testify–and has agreed to do so–in any potential prosecutions (note that they aren’t even prosecuting anyone yet!), but says he knew of no abuse.
Then, as usually happens in these witch hunts (look at the ambiguous and limbic proceedings surrounding Fr. Christopher Buckner of Virginia!), the definition of “abuse” was stretched to the limit, so that Fr. Ratzinger has himself been accused of abuse for boxing kids in the ear!
Now, my own feelings on corporal punishment are mixed, especially as a matter of default disciplinary practice, but as Andy Griffith would say, “Come awwn!” Speaking of Andy Griffith, I guess we need to bring him up on charges for advocating child abuse on the air, since there are several references to belts and switches on The Andy Griffith Show. And don’t forget those horribly offensive Laura Ingalls Wilder books!!
Now, idiots who have no idea how Church hierarchy works, are trying to implicate then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger in the case of one Fr. Peter Hullermann, who was merely reassigned rather than disciplined in an abuse allegation while Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich. Gerhard Gruber, who was the vicar general at the time, claims full responsibility, but enemies of the Pope find that hard to believe.
You know, I was no fan of Bernard Cardinal Law, but I always felt the attacks against him were unfounded, as well. An archbishop, particularly a Cardinal Archbishop, has many responsibilities. Any given cardinal serves on various Vatican commissions, travels around the world, gives talks, etc. Cardinal George is also president of the USCCB–do you think he spends much time governing the diocese of Chicago?
This is why archbishops usually have auxiliary bishops, not to mention parochial vicars and others.
The enemies of the Church want to perceive a vast conspiracy of child molestors covering each others’ backs. If they are talking about the Legion of Christ or the Jesuits, or even certain Archdioceses, they’re not going to get much dispute in these quarters. However, that is not always the case . The overweening problem is one of downplaying complaints, the old problem of clericalism (like I was talking about in my recent post on censorship and the downside of the Index of Forbidden Books).
So, there’s an accusation against a priest. Diocesan bureaucrat says, “Oh, just another disgruntled parishioner making something up” (that does happen, you know!). If he’s just trying to brush it under the carpet, do you think he’s going to go running to the archbishop and talk about it?
No; he’s just going to reassign the priest and be done with it.
In any case, any reputable news agency is recognizing that, whatever mistakes he may have made in the past–mostly in regard to his own stated view at one point that these cases were overblown and largely the result of a media campaign against the Church–the Pope has done an outstanding job of dealing with the situation as it has come to greater light over the past 8 years.
When public school principals stop winking at guidance counselors who summon scantily clad thirteen year olds for lengthy “counseling” sessions on a daily basis, or teachers who openly fondle students in the hallways, maybe the secular world will have some room to talk.