The media is studiously hiding the facts from the public.
For example, in the case of the abuser-priest in Munich – he was not put back into a parish until after Ratzinger left the archdiocese to become the head of the CDF in Rome:
Archdiocese of Munich, 1980
Father Joseph Ratzinger had been consecrated Archbishop of Munich in May, 1977. By his own admission his health was “fragile” and he had little pastoral experience, having been only an assistant pastor for about one year in 1951-52. From 1952 to 1977 he had been a teacher, researcher and professor of theology.47
In 1980 the Archdiocese of Munich had 400 paid staff members and employees,48 over 1,700 religious and diocesan priests in over 750 parishes, and over 6,000 male and female religious.49 Father Gerhard Gruber, who was Vicar General in 1980, said that Archbishop Ratzinger “left many decisions to lower-level officials.”50 “The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said.51
There were three auxiliary bishops. One of them, Bishop Heinrich von Soden-Fraunhofen (deceased), was the main Church contact for Hullerman’s therapist, psychiatrist Dr. Werner Huth. Dr. Huth was never in contact with Archbishop Ratzinger.52
Dr. Huth states that Hullerman was “neither invested nor motivated” in therapy and even resistant to it, cooperating only to avoid losing his position. Hullerman rejected Huth’s recommendation for one-on-one sessions, preferring ‘group therapy.’ Huth repeatedly and urgently advised Church officials, orally and in writing, that Hullerman “desperately ha[d] to be kept away from working with children.'” He stated that his advice was that Hullerman could return to pastoral work only if he were kept away from children, abstained from alcohol, and was under the constant supervision of another priest.53
However, the council of priests in the Archdiocese was not informed of Hullerman’s offences. Erwin Wild, who was then a spokesman for the council, now states that the council should have been advised.54 Perhaps so, but, consistent with the therapeutic approach in vogue at the time, Hullerman was being dealt with as someone in need of treatment or cure, not as a potentially dangerous offender. Had Dr. Huth’s advice had been followed it would probably have been safe to confine the information to those directly involved in supervising Hullerman, extending it to others as the need arose.
Offender returns to pastoral work and reoffends
But Dr. Huth’s recommendations were not followed. They were ignored by Vicar General Gruber, who authorized Hullerman’s return to ministry “almost immediately after his therapy began, interacting with children as well as adults.”55 Gruber now admits that this was “a serious mistake,” and states that Archbishop Ratzinger was not aware of it.56
Archbishop Ratzinger resigned in February, 1982, to become Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. It is impossible to associate him with what happened after he left Munich. Seven months later, Hullerman was assigned to a parish in Grafing. He was convicted in 1986 for sex crimes against minors in the parish.57
Now, given these facts,you would think the media would go after his successor, the archbishop who was in charge when the priest was returned to a parish. Nope. Not a word about that guy. They are out to get the Pope, pure and simple.
None of this affords evidence that Cardinal Ratzinger attempted to cover up what Hullerman had done, or that he was responsible for Hullerman’s return to pastoral duties and his subsequent offences against children. It appears that, in the absence of such evidence, Mr. Hitchens let his sense of outrage get the better of him. Lacking evidence, he fell back on innuendo, the last refuge of journalists in need of a story. For that he quoted Rev. Thomas Doyle, who offered the following comment on the explanation offered by the former vicar general.
Nonsense. . . Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the Pope.58
But Doyle does not know Ratzinger. As far as we know, he has never met the Pope. He certainly was never in Munich while Ratzinger was there. There is no indication he talked to anyone who knew the Pope at that time. In short, he is a well known media advocate for the rights of children who are abused, but he has absolutely no knowledge of what went on in Munich. Note that the media relied on his statement, in lieu of talking to anyone who knew the Pope, or observed him while he was in Munich. In fact, it is well known in the Vatican that the Pope is most definitely NOT a micromanager. He is a theologian, an academic, not an administrator.
Thomas Doyle is a well-known American priest and canon lawyer.59 Some of his doctrinal views are in conflict with key teachings of the Catholic Church,60 and his canonical status is uncertain.61 Nonetheless, he has considerable expertise with respect to the problem of sex crimes by Catholic clergy62 and a reputation as a public advocate for their victims.63 He is also a well-known critic of the Catholic hierarchy.64 For all of these reasons he is likely among the list of ‘usual suspects’ who would be interviewed by journalists interested in clerical sexual abuse.
However, Mr. Hitchens does not explain why Doyle should be accepted as an expert on Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger’s management style in the Archdiocese of Munich in 1980. It does not appear that Doyle has ever lived in Germany or that he speaks or reads German. There is nothing in his comment that suggests that he made enquiries in Munich about the administration of the diocese under Archbishop Ratzinger, or that he actually knew anything in particular about the subject. His comment is consistent with the outlook of a crusader, not a knowledgeable expert, and the testimony of crusaders warrants caution.