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Ratzinger and Pedophilia in the Church
Although discussion has raged since this afternoon regarding Benedict XVI and his past Nazi affiliations, I find his present to be slightly more worrisome. As Tim Boucher points out in this blog entry:
Ratzinger is also the author of a May 2001 letter to bishops stating that the "Crimine solicitationies" law (regarding strict secrecy in sex abuse cases) is still in effect.
The law to which Ratzinger's letter referred was issued by Pope John XXIII 40 years ago (a link to the PDF of the document can be found in Boucher's entry). The law itself is chilling, as it describes a mandatory condition of secrecy for both the perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to `be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'
[...] Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases `in the most secretive way... restrained by a perpetual silence... and everyone... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office... under the penalty of excommunication'.
Lawyers point to a letter the Vatican sent to bishops in May 2001 clearly stating the 1962 instruction was in force until then. The letter is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the most powerful man in Rome beside the Pope and who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the office which ran the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.
We can believe what we wish about Benedict XVI's youthful nationalism or lack thereof. What we do know from his letter is that as recently as 2001, he supported and encouraged the drawing of a curtain of secrecy over widespread sexual abuse by clergy. A friend forwarded this link to me today.
The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,
who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the
church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation
and the accusers weren't asked a single question or asked for a statement.
He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal
in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last
week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly
upset and actually slapped this reporter's hand. "Come to me when the
moment is given," Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, "not yet." "Cardinal
Ratzinger is sheltering Maciel, protecting him," said Berry, who expressed
concerns that no response was being given to the allegations against the
man charged with sex abuse. "These men knelt and kissed the ring of
Cardinal Ratzinger when they filed the case in Rome. And a year-and-a-half
later, he takes those accusations and aborts them, just stuffs them."