Pope Wakes Up … Almost

Pope Joseph Ratzinger had finally taken a deep swallow and accepted the fact that the Catholic Church can not hide child rapists inside it’s midsts:

Pope Benedict XVI told priests who have abused children to submit to the “demands of justice,” according to a letter released Saturday.

The pontiff said a misplaced concern for the church’s reputation and inadequate methods of choosing priests had contributed to decades of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. He ordered a Vatican investigation into elements of the Irish church to tackle the problem.

Well, he has correctly identified some issues. But, unfortunately, he’s only half willing to deal with them. The priests (or the holders of other, higher, offices) that have committed acts of child rape do need to be turned in. They suffer from an affliction which necessitates that they are never allowed to be alone with a child. Ever.

However, the outright criminals in this case, the men that, even though they had their full faculties about them, still thought out and executed a crime by hiding pedophiles and, in fact, enabling them to strike again and again, need to be brought to justice! These men are not sick. They do not suffer from pedophilic addictions. They acted out of purely selfish and criminal desires. I have a feeling the Pope will not call for these men to turn themselves in, though, since he is one of them.

Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.”

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