In today’s story about the Pope, the Times writes:
In recent days, it has become clear that top Vatican officials — including the pope himself, while he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — did not defrock a priest who molested scores of deaf boys in the United States, despite warnings by American bishops about the danger of failure to act, according to church files.
This is grossly misleading. The priest in question was dying, and if I got my figures right, he was dead four months after the Vatican declined to pursue the defrocking trial. What the Vatican did was make a decision: since the guy is dying, do we want to defrock him when he may not live long enough to survive the de-frocking trial?
And – the bishop that was supposedly “warning about the failure to act” did not want him defrocked to protect the children. No, it appears he wanted him defrocked because the media was hot on his ass for his very poor response to the abuse in his archdiocese. He wanted him defrocked to get the media off his back. You see, that bishop had sent a letter threatening teachers who told on abusers with legal action. That bishop had used $450,000 of the church’s money to pay off his gay lover. That bishop had called the victims ‘squealers”.
That bishop had said “Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise. We frequently try such adolescents for crimes as adults at that age.”
No. You can see that the media is pretending it is all about the children, but in fact it is all about protecting certain churchmen by going after the Vatican instead, and pretending the Vatican is the cause of all the problems.
The Catholic church is centralized in one sense only: Doctrine. Catholic doctine is centralized. But when it comes to the running of the churches themselves, the local bishops are little kings. It is very hard for the Vatican to overrule them on things that do not pertain directly to doctrine. When it comes to personnel decisions, the Vatican has traditionally had almost zero input. Only in 2001 was the Vatican able to put procedures in place whereby they were sent every file of every priest involved in sexual abuse.
This procedure was put in place BEFORE the scandals of 2002 broke out. Who was responsible for those new rules? Cardinal Ratzinger. Now, it appears possible that the scandals of 2002 may have been a response to the institution of these new rules. The new rules would have crippled the lavendar mafia, and made it much more difficult for them to protect their abusive priests.
Remember: It is local, liberal bishops that are the problem. The media is protecting them, and waging war on the Vatican on their behalf.