Pope Benedict XVI has been been clear that the priesthood has no room for pedophiles. But Benedict has been touched by the ever-widening sex abuse scandal in Germany. During an era when the church thought perverted priests could be treated, when the pope was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, he approved a pedophile priest’s transfer for therapy.
From The New York Times:
A subordinate took full responsibility for allowing the priest to later resume pastoral work, the archdiocese said in a statement.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he had no comment beyond the statement by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, which he said showed the “nonresponsibility” of the pope in the matter.
The expanding abuse inquiry had come ever closer to Benedict as new accusations in Germany surfaced almost daily since the first reports in January. On Friday the pope met with the chief bishop of Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Bishops Conference, to discuss the church investigations and media reports.
Problems in the German church have already come close to the pope, whose brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 86, directed a choir connected to a boarding school where two former students have come forward with abuse claims. In an interview this week, Monsignor Ratzinger, who directed the choir from 1964 to 1994, said the accusations dated from before his tenure. He also apologized for slapping students.
At a news conference following a one-on-one meeting with Benedict on Friday, Archbishop Zollitsch said the pope was “greatly upset” and “deeply moved” by the abuse allegations, and had urged the German church to seek the truth and help the victims.
An honest mistake or more? Regardless, Benedict has little to worry about. Look at how long Cardinal Roger Mahony lasted.