Pope Accused of Letting Past Abuse Case Languish
Posted on Apr 9, 2010
Yet another sexual abuse case from the past has come back to haunt the Vatican, and this time, Pope Benedict XVI is being scrutinized for decisions he made about the case in his prior position at the Holy See.
On Friday, The Associated Press released the details of an exchange between then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now the pontiff) and Bishop John Cummins of Oakland, Calif., whose diocese alerted the Vatican in 1981 about a San Francisco Bay area priest who was put on probation in 1978 after being accused of molesting two boys. Turns out it took Ratzinger a little while to respond, and his answer didn’t exactly resolve the matter quickly. —KA
Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to unfrock an American priest with a record of sexually molesting children, arguing that the negative publicity would damage the church in a 1985 letter bearing his signature.
The 1985 letter typed in Latin and signed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said any decision to remove Stephen Kiesle, a San Francisco priest, from the priesthood must take into account the “good of the universal church”.
The letter, obtained by the Associated Press news agency, could provide the first direct evidence to undermine the Vatican’s insistence that the Pope was never involved in blocking the removal of paedophile priests during his two decades as head of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department that deals with sex abuse cases.
AP / Luca Bruno
The papal HQ: aerial view of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.