Flickr: Photo by PacopusHeard the latest news about Pope Benedict XVI? Forget Papal Infallibility; I'm wondering how this Pope is going to manage to stay out of hell. Not only have more allegations of sexual abuse by priests come to light -- in Germany, Ireland, and now Wisconsin -- word is that the Pope, then Cardinal Ratzinger, knew about the allegations.
What did he do about them? Oh, the usual: He shuffled the priests around, with the caveat that they shouldn't work with children anymore. Which, of course, they did anyway.
But in the case of a Catholic priest who served at a school for deaf boys in Wisconsin -- and molested them nightly and during confessions -- he apparently put a stop to the trial initiated by another cardinal after the priest in question wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, "protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health."
Oh good, he repented! I'm sure that all of those poor boys who "would cover their heads with their blankets, hug themselves tightly and weep" when they saw Father Murphy molesting their classmates feel so much better now that they know he said a Hail Mary or two.
How was the Pope involved? Cardinal Ratzinger served from 1981-2005 as the head of "the [Vatican] office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked." He was ultimately responsible for responding to such allegations on behalf of the Catholic church. Instead, he was the one sweeping them under the rug.
To be fair, many allegations don't even reach the Vatican office previously led by Cardinal Ratzinger. They're buried by bishops and archbishops and cardinals whose highest priority is to protect the church, not the parishioners they've vowed to serve.
Two years ago, when the newly elected Pope came to the US and spoke out plainly against the abuse, Catholics thought his words might signal a shift in the priorities of the Vatican and church officials. Now they're wondering if they were wrong.
Sure, it's easy for a heathen like me to throw out the baby with the bath water; I disdain organized religion as a whole, both the good and the bad.
But as a parent, I simply can't understand why other parents would continue to put their trust and faith in an organization that continues to defend those who have victimized children.