by Mike Whitney
March 31, 2010
Pope Benedict (the XVI)
should do everyone a favor and resign.
By hanging on, he's just making matters
worse. Who does he think he's fooling anyway? Everyone knows that he
was involved in the sex-scandal cover up. Does he really think that
a few papal apologies will make a difference? He was in
charge and knew everything that was going on. That makes
His best option now is to "man up" and
face the consequences. He needs to arrange a press conference, tell
the truth, and resign. End of story.
It's clear that the problem isn't going to go away.
In the last week, three more
incidents have surfaced adding more fuel to the fire.
In Wisconsin, Father Lawrence Murphy
abused as many as 200 boys at a Milwaukee school for the deaf. One
of the victims, Arthur Budzinski, has been all over TV
telling his story and blaming the pope. It's pretty heart-wrenching
According to Budzinski's daughter Gigi:
"The pope knew about this. He was
the one who handled the sex abuse cases. So, I think he should
be accountable, because he did nothing."
This is bad. Anyone can see that the
Vatican was shuffling predators from one spot to another trying to
keep the details out of the news.
Maybe Benedict thought he was doing the
right thing? Maybe he thought he was just being loyal or protecting
the church from litigation? Who knows what he thought; it's beside
the point. The bottom line is that people's lives have been ruined
and someone has to pay.
Here's another bombshell which appeared
in the Associated Press last week:
"In a signed statement last year,
the 67 former pupils at a school for the deaf in Verona
described sexual abuse, pedophilia and corporal punishment from
the 1950s to the 1980s. They named 24 priests, brothers and lay
religious men at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf.
One victim, Alessandro Vantini, told the AP last year that
priests sodomized him so relentlessly he came to feel "as if I
"How could I tell my papa that a priest had sex with me?"
Vantini, 59, said through a sign-language interpreter. "You
couldn't tell your parents because the priests would beat you."
abuse scandal in US, Italy taints papacy", Nicole
67 victims here, 200 victims there; this
is industrial-scale sex abuse, a veritable pedophile conveyor
Naturally, the Vatican has circled the wagons and is lashing out at
the media. But it's a hopeless cause. As the head of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal
Ratzinger (as Benedict was
known at the time) took steps to silence priests who wanted to
reveal what they knew.
In a 2001 letter to the bishops,
"ordered them to keep sexual abuse
allegations secret under threat of excommunication - updating a
noxious church policy... that both priests accused of sex crimes
and their victims "observe the strictest secret" and be
"restrained by a perpetual silence."
This is obstruction of justice,
and Benedict should be prosecuted.
No man is above the law; not even the
pope. Religious freedom isn't license to rape children.
Benedict's letter helps to illustrate a larger point, too. It shows
that the sex abuse scandal isn't really about sex abuse at all. It's
about the people in positions of authority who violated the public's
trust. That's the real story. It's about people who pretend to be
"spiritual advisers", but don't even do the right thing when a child
is sexually molested.
And, these are the people who are giving
advice on issues like homosexuality and birth control?
Benedict has also been implicated in a German case involving Father
Peter Hullermann who was suspended from his duties but then,
allowed to return to work "without restrictions" as a priest in
Munich, even though a psychiatrist described him as a potential
According to the
New York Times:
"In September 1979, the chaplain
(Hullermann) was removed from his congregation after three
sets of parents told his superior, the Rev. Norbert Essink, that
he had molested their sons, charges he did not deny, according
to notes taken by the superior and still in Father Hullermann’s
Reports from the congregation in
which he was last active made us aware that Chaplain Hullermann
presented a danger that caused us to immediately withdraw him
from pastoral duties."
Hullermann was allowed to return to his
parish work on Feb. 1, 1980. He was finally convicted in 1986 of
molesting boys in Bavaria.
Can you see a pattern here? These are more than isolated
incidents. It's like some gruesome papal crime-ring:
A few weeks ago,
an apology to Catholics in
Ireland for decades of cruelty and abuse. In the papal communiqué
"I can only share in the dismay and
the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on
learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church
authorities in Ireland dealt with them."
Benedict's comments are predictably
insincere. He knew exactly what was going on.
As Catholic theologian, Hans Kueng
"There was not a single man in the
whole Catholic Church who knew more about the sex-abuse cases
than him, because it was ex officio (part of his official
role)... "He can’t wag his finger at the bishops and say, you
didn’t do enough. He gave the instruction himself, as head of
the Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith, and repeated it as
Sinead O'Connor, Irish musician
and abused-victim, was so incensed by Benedict's fake empathy, she
wrote a fiery article for
the Washington Post where she said:
"Irish Catholics are in a
dysfunctional relationship with an abusive organization. The
pope must take responsibility for the actions of his
subordinates. If Catholic priests are abusing children, it is
Rome, not Dublin, that must answer for it with a full confession
and a criminal investigation.
Until it does, all good Catholics...
should avoid Mass. In Ireland, it is time we separated our God
from our religion, and our faith from its alleged leaders."
This case goes way beyond the sleazy
details of one man's repeated attempts to conceal the criminal
activities of serial molesters and child rapists.
The real issue is whether people in
positions of power are to be held accountable for their actions and
whether the law really applies to everyone equally and without
exception. That's what's at stake here.
Ratzinger needs to be indicted,
prosecuted and - if found guilty - sentenced to