Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can the Pope Go to Jail?

I don't quite know what to make of this. Is this a scandal of unspeakable proportions about to break?

I just read a news report that stated that while serving as an Archbishop in Germany the current Pope Benedict XVI presided over the reassignment of a priest who had committed pedophilia, and further more he actually may have instructed the bishops around the world to remain silent when priests were accused of sexual assualt against children.

Well now what do they do?

Germany's sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.
The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.
The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict's handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes – a position he held until his 2005 election as pope

Apparently a priest under the then Archbishop Ratzinger’s diocese was allowed to return to his duties in the early 80's after having been suspected of having sex with boys and undergoing "therapy" for it. He then went on to molest again. Church officials are insisting that the Pope wasn’t involved in any of the decisions that led to the priest returning, but victims rights groups aren't buying it.

"We find it extraordinarily hard to believe that Ratzinger didn't reassign the predator, or know about the reassignment," said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

All this suspicion is compounded by the fact that when the Pope was in charge of the office that investigated and disciplined priests for misconduct like this the then Cardinal wrote a memo that instructed bishops to remain silent about the misconduct and to forward all the information to his office.

Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, has cited the document as evidence that the Vatican created a "wall of silence" around abuse cases that prevented prosecution. Irish bishops have said the document had been "widely misunderstood" by the bishops themselves to mean they shouldn't go to police. And lawyers for abuse victims in the United States have cited the document in arguing that the Catholic Church tried to obstruct justice..

Church sex abuse scandal link from the Huffington Post I got the quotes from

So let me get this straight. As an Archbishop the Pope had at least one, and who knows how many other priests undergo "therapy" for having sex with boys and be reassigned to molest again, but he knew nothing. Then when he was a Cardinal and in charge of the Vatican office designed to look into such things he writes a memo that instructs church management to send information about child abuse to Rome where nothing was done, but basically be quiet about it? Can the Pope go to jail, and shouldn’t he?

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