by Mike Whitney
April 26, 2005
The U.K. Observer has produced evidence that the new
XVI was directly involved in obstructing justice in the
investigation of pedophile priests.
letter reveals Ratzinger ordered Bishops to keep allegations
secret,” details how Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “issued an order
ensuring the church’s investigations into sex abuse claims be
carried out in secret.”
The order was sent to American bishops in
May 2001 and,
“asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries
behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10
years after the victims reached adulthood.” (18 years old)
What right would that be?
The right to protect the Catholic Church
from the lawsuits of psychologically damaged victims?
Or the right
to ignore the laws of the host nation in which the pedophile priests
The letter was signed by Ratzinger and came directly
from his office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (aka
The Saint Inquisition), which
serves as the papal thought police, bringing errant priests and
progressives into line with Catholic doctrine.
Ratzinger’s edict states unequivocally that the “church can claim
jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been perpetrated with a minor
by a cleric.”
Really? Now, what jurisdiction might that be? Certainly nothing in
the Federal penal code allows a cardinal or anyone else to willfully
eschew the known laws of the land and bury the facts related to
Ratzinger’s letter is such an egregious violation of the law it
simply boggles the mind. But, that’s just the half of it. Ratzinger
claimed that the church had the right to bury these cases for 10
years after the minor has “completed the 18th year of age.”
This goes well beyond simple loyalty to one’s church. These are the
calculations of someone whose moral judgment is so abysmal he
shouldn’t be trusted in anything.
Is that too harsh? How else would you describe someone who cooks up
a plan to obstruct justice and deliberately perpetuate the suffering
of innocent children? Ratzinger’s action can only be described as
vile and inexcusable.
It would be interesting to see how Ratzinger would explain his
behavior in terms of his frequently espoused theories on “moral
relativism”. In the real world, there are few moral absolutes, but
child abuse certainly rises to that standard.
To show how serious Ratzinger took the sex abuse scandal, he issued
the warning in his letter,
“Breaching the pontifical secret at any
time while the 10 year jurisdiction order is operating carries
penalties, including the threat of excommunication.”
This is terrible. It shows the current
Pope acting like a Mafia
chieftain, binding his subjects to silence (“Omerta”) and
threatening to throw them out of the church if they fail. It also
shows that his plan to obstruct justice was neither reflexive nor
simply a “moral lapse”; it was a well-thought out conspiracy
designed to intimidate church leaders and force them to shut up and
hide the evidence.
At the same time the Observer was releasing the details of Ratzinger’s letter, the new Pope was carrying out his first official
act: lambasting the Spanish government for allowing marriage for
The Vatican described the new bill, which will become law in a few
months, as “profoundly iniquitous” and said that Catholic officials
should be prepared to “lose their jobs rather than cooperate with
the law.” (BBC)
Unbelievable. How can the marriage of two consenting adults
committing themselves to a life together be “iniquitous”, while the
concealing of known sex predators who have ruined the lives of
countless children be acceptable?
Ratzinger has established a new benchmark for ecclesiastical
duplicity. His disparaging remarks about women (she should “follow
the roles inscribed by her biology”) and gays (they are inherently
disposed “to intrinsic moral evil” and their rights can be
“legitimately limited”) are already part of the public record. This
new chapter only adds to his (already) dismal legacy.
Ratzinger is the worst thing that could have happened to the
Catholic Church. The world needs a counterbalance to the
militaristic chauvinism of Bush. Another Pope John XXIII would have
been nice: a warm, conciliatory pontiff, extending the hand of
friendship and goodwill the other religions. Regrettably, Ratzinger
is the polar opposite of the affable architect of Ecumenical Council
He’s already established himself as the pitchman for
“traditional values”, discipline and papal authority. It’s only a
matter of time before the hair shirts and chastity belts are
retrieved from the subterranean Vatican vault.
Conspiracy Theory: the Bush and Ratzinger Collaboration
Sidney Blumenthal’s recent article “Holy Warriors” draws some
interesting connections between Bush and the new pope. As Blumenthal
“Bush pleaded with the Vatican to pressure the bishops to
step up their activism against abortion and gay marriage in the
states during the campaign season. About a week later Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to the US bishops, pronouncing that
those Catholics who were pro-choice on abortion were committing a
grave sin and must be denied Communion.
He pointedly mentioned ‘the
case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting
for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws.’”
To understand how extraordinary Ratzinger’s letter was, we need to
ask ourselves “when was the last time a pope actively campaigned on
the behalf of a presidential candidate?”
How about never!
Is there any doubt that Ratzinger’s remarks were intended to assist
Bush? His criticism torpedoed the Kerry campaign and handed a larger
percentage of the Catholic vote to Bush. That margin of difference
may have been critical in determining the outcome of the election.
So, why would Ratzinger throw his weight behind Bush and exhibit his
disloyalty to “one of his own”? (Kerry is a Catholic) Was it because
of his unshakeable commitment to principle and moral righteousness?
(Certainly, his attempts to subvert justice disprove that theory.)
Or did it have something to do with the American sex abuse scandal?
Call it a hunch, but I think that Ratzinger’s political maneuverings
prior to the presidential election were a quid pro quo for favors
promised by the Bush administration to overlook legal issues pending
in the US. Ratzinger knew he had the papal election in the bag,
because, as Al Jazeera noted,
“Pope John Paul appointed all but 2 of
the men who elected the new pope.”
The fix was in. He knew he had
the votes, but he also knew that he had to avoid being implicated in
(covering up) the sex scandal or lose his shot at becoming pope.
One thing is certain, if justice had been served in Boston, Cardinal Law would be in leg-irons right now picking up soda cans and candy
wrappers on the Mass Pike and Herr Ratzinger would be staving off
extradition to the US on charges of obstruction of justice.
Instead, he’s the new head honcho of world Catholicism, blowing
kisses to the adoring crowds while, at the same time, condemning the
ravages of liberalism. This is an arrangement that works for Bush,
too. With a reactionary ideologue in the swivel chair at the
Vatican, Bush is assured that his Catholic base will stay put and
the carping from Rome about Iraq will be at a minimum.
Pope Benedict XVI elicited his dark vision of humanity during the
papal ceremonies on Sunday. He said,
“We are living in alienation,
in the salt waters of suffering and death, in a sea of darkness
without light. The net of the Gospels pulls us out of the water of
death and brings us into the splendor of God’s light, into true
How often have we heard this same ominous Hobbesian vision
articulated by autocrats attempting to ratify their own personal
Ratzinger’s worldview may be his own bleak projection of
reality, but his imposing position in the church hierarchy suggests
that we may all feel its repercussions.