The world’s media networks are tripping over themselves today to report on the sudden and historical announcement from Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) that he will be abdicating the Holy Throne at 8:00 pm on February 28th. The announcement itself is significant because it has been over 600 years since a Pope has abdicated. The media circus over Ratzinger’s announcement is appalling when you consider that no one has mentioned this Pope’s history in covering up the church’s long-running sex abuse scandal involving priests.
Let’s begin with one thing I personally have had a problem with from the moment I first learned about Joseph Ratzinger’s past. He was a member of the Hitler Youth at age 14. Three years later, at age 17, young Joseph was drafted into the Luftwaffenhelfer. There are reports that he was an “unenthusiastic” participant. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. But it’s his actions (or lack thereof) in the Roman Catholic Church power panel that prove this man is no true representative of any loving/caring god.
During the 1980s, Catholic bishops, following then Cardinal Ratzinger’s lead and example, neglected or outright refused to report cases of child abuse to the proper authorities. At the direction and with the blessing of Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger assumed Vatican authority over all cases pertaining to pedophilia and what the Catholic Church calls “criminal solicitation” of sex by priests. All files on accused priests, incidents of child abuse, and other documents related to the history of the global sex scandal were transported to Rome, allegedly reviewed by Ratzinger, and then placed in a vault. Prosecutors representing abuse victims in legal matters are unable to successfully subpoena or even to review those documents.
The most direct and damming involvement by Ratzinger to protect accussed priests is a 1985 letter he wrote to Oakland Bishop John S. Cummins over the request to remove Rev. Stephen Miller Kiesle.
Stephen Kiesle served in the East Bay of California. Father Kiesle had a long history of sexually abusing children, resulting in multi-million dollar payouts by the Oakland Diocese. The lawyer for one of Kiesle’s victims stated, “Of all the perpetrators I met, which were probably a couple dozen, he was the most evil, remorseless sociopath of them all, just a terrible human being.” Bishop Cummins had written the Vatican requesting that Kiesle be removed from the priesthood. Cardinal Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the office of the Inquisition), refused to have the abusive priest removed.
Here is the full text of the 1985 letter from Cardinal Ratzinger to Bishop Cummins:
Most Excellent Bishop
Having received your letter of September 13 of this year, regarding the matter of the removal from all priestly burdens pertaining to Rev. Stephen Miller Kiesle in your diocese, it is my duty to share with you the following:
This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favour of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ’s faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner.
It is necessary for this Congregation to submit incidents of this sort to very careful consideration, which necessitates a longer period of time.
In the meantime your Excellency must not fail to provide the petitioner with as much paternal care as possible and in addition to explain to same the rationale of this court, which is accustomed to proceed keeping the common good especially before its eyes.
Let me take this occasion to convey sentiments of the highest regard always to you.
Your most Reverend Excellency
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
The second paragraph of the letter says it all. Ratzinger acknowledges that the “arguments” are of “grave significance,” but consideration must be given to the “good of the Universal Church” (our reputation) in relation to the petitioner (victim), and that removal of Father Kiesle would be detrimental and harmful to his future in the Church, given the “young age” of the victim.
That’s why I don’t give a crap that Pope Benedict has abdicated. He should have never been Pope in the first place. He is complicit in the cover-up of a global scandal that has left countless child victims with shattered lives and unable to achieve even the simplest form of justice.