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Although discussion has raged since this afternoon regarding Benedict XVI and his past Nazi affiliations, I find his present to be slightly more worrisome. As Tim Boucher points out in this blog entry:

Ratzinger is also the author of a May 2001 letter to bishops stating that the "Crimine solicitationies" law (regarding strict secrecy in sex abuse cases) is still in effect.

The law to which Ratzinger's letter referred was issued by Pope John XXIII 40 years ago (a link to the PDF of the document can be found in Boucher's entry). The law itself is chilling, as it describes a mandatory condition of secrecy for both the perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

   The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.

    They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to `be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'

    [...] Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases `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'.

Lawyers point to a letter the Vatican sent to bishops in May 2001 clearly stating the 1962 instruction was in force until then. The letter is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the most powerful man in Rome beside the Pope and who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the office which ran the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.

We can believe what we wish about Benedict XVI's youthful nationalism or lack thereof. What we do know from his letter is that as recently as 2001, he supported and encouraged the drawing of a curtain of secrecy over widespread sexual abuse by clergy. A friend forwarded this link to me today.

The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren't asked a single question or asked for a statement. He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter's hand. "Come to me when the moment is given," Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, "not yet." "Cardinal Ratzinger is sheltering Maciel, protecting him," said Berry, who expressed concerns that no response was being given to the allegations against the man charged with sex abuse. "These men knelt and kissed the ring of Cardinal Ratzinger when they filed the case in Rome. And a year-and-a-half later, he takes those accusations and aborts them, just stuffs them."
NOTE: Welcome anyone who's finding this diary through Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet. Please check out the links to Tim Boucher's Occult Investigator blog in the original, as they didn't transfer to PrisonPlanet and Tim did all the heavy lifting here. Thanks!

Originally posted to Irony on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:43 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ratzinger (none)
    NPP: Nazi Pedophile Pope.

    (OK maybe "Ex-Hitler Youth, Pedophile Apologist, Ultra-Conservative Pope" may turn out to be more correct, but I prefer NPP) Now flame away if you must.  

    •  No flames but (none)
      He may indeed be a fascist. As many, and myself, have pointed out his HY service was compulsory, and as an anti-aircraft man he deserted the Wehrmacht.

      It is essential to note that he considered himself a progressive during a formative period, before re-entrenching. He was also the right hand man of John Paul II and it is possible that not only the stances of JP2 that we didn't like, but those we liked as well, were shared by him. Or even originated with him. What if, like the government of his native country, JP2 was inclined to support Bush on Iraq, but Ratzinger, like the government of his native country, opposed it and authored that stance? It's possible.

      Let's hope so. Let's hope he fires a shot across the bow of warmongers in short order and makes the Republicans feel really silly for trying to lay claim to the Catholic faith these past weeks.

      As to the issue of pervert priests he wasn't apologizing for them (in the quote I saw), he was saying the media was overstating how many priests were invloved. Which it pretty much did. The numbers circulated included every allegation no matter how old or well founded. It also (as does current US law, to be fair) cases (in the majority I think) that involved older teens (young men in common parlance, not choir boys).

      It would be much more progressive to focus on the broad issue of authority figures of all stripes, men of cloth of all faiths, perpetrating these worst crimes in the fairly small yet consistent numbers that they do. The only grounds on which its justifiably a Catholic issue is the coverup angle.

      Perhaps the right wing, led by Ashcroft, went whole hog after the church partly out of good intent but also possibly to perform a purge on the church and sway American catholics that the highest moral authority in their lives is the Republican Party, not the Catholic Church.

      Of course it's very touchy business trying to be reasonable about these matters. Most people don't bother to try. If what Ratzinger was saying was not to diminish appalling crimes and coverups, but to point out how they had been possibly exploited for political purposes (or merely to sell papers), then he's not precisely an "apologist."

      ...Of course an Opus Dei man is likely to be well disposed to cover-ups; hopefully not of that kind at least.

      •  the Catholic Church is, (none)
        like the US government, cloaked in entirely too much secrecy, practices smoke and mirrors, and is currently far-right. So naturally I become paranoid:

        http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/041805_ns_gods_banker.html

        Consider also the Nazis whom the CIA ferreted to South America, and the German pedophile in Argentina who was only recently caught--and ran an estate frequented by Pinochet's officers where children were raped and killed. Or the pedophile ring rumored (Washington Post front page in 1980s) Reagan. I can send you the links if you want.
         

        •  Good a place as any... (none)
          ...to post this link to David McGowan's pedophocracy series (in six parts). It doesn't focus much on the Church's scandals, but later parts do mention the Argentinian case you cite, and delve into the Spence call-boy ring (the Washington Times article that's been making the rounds since the whole Gannon/Gosch and Rusty Nelson/HST story has been swimming around the internet). What shocked me (living in the MSM echo chamber) was how recent the Belgian scandal was. I feel humbled by the fact I had no idea these things were going on.

          "So much thinking in our society has been replaced by following. I know God didn't make us for that." --Keith Olbermann

          by Irony on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:42:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've Seen the Reagan-Era Thing (none)
          And the doc made about it but never aired. They also have Nazis in Argentina. The rightwingers in latin America have "disappeared" tens of thousands of leftists; not farmers cum guerillas in many cases but intelligensia. In one documented case (by the jewish surviving wife, who was tortured but lived, of a dead victim) the torturer/killer had Nazi memorabilia and played Hitler speeches while plying his craft.

          And no doubt those acts were preceded by the grinning Ann Coulters and Sean Hannity's of those countries. (Oh, and they killed lots of children that way too, that's what "cultures of life" tend to get around to eventually.)

          Fundamentally, I think it just comes down to us versus the bullies. That's what all these characters have in common: They are bullies. That's understatement when you are talking about brutal torture killings of innocents, but its the fundamental problem.

        •  Oh and Don't Forget DynCorp (none)
          According to Rep. Slaughter there are ongoing allegations against them. I don't think the first Clinton-era Yugo batch were ever prosecuted.
      •  I think the Nazi thing (none)
        seems to be an unfair smear.

        But then he could turn out to have the same kind of past as Kurt Waldheim....

    •  I suspect that Opus Dei took (none)
      particular advantage of the rash of crimminal prosecutions of pedomaniac priests to seed those diocese with, erm, up and comers. So much drug money to launder, in the US, what with the congregation here threatening schism....can't be too careful, can you?
  •  Now, THIS is the kind of (4.00)
    Ratzinger crap that we should be screaming about!Tell the world.  

    "Never mind the trick, what the hell's the point?" Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    by wozzle on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:47:40 PM PDT

  •  Uh oh, it's not like you can transfer the Pope (4.00)
    out of the country and wait for everything to blow over if this unholy shit blows up in their faces.
    •  Good show. (none)
      Thank you for linking to your article; I missed it in my reading today; it was extremely well done.

      "So much thinking in our society has been replaced by following. I know God didn't make us for that." --Keith Olbermann

      by Irony on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:35:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good to know that (none)
    "the office which ran the Inquisition in the Middle Ages" is still up and running. Same fax machine, too? It appears the closets in the CC aren't big enough for all the skeletons. Perhaps those inquisition-office paper pushers (B for Burned at the Stake: numerous file cabinets, all a bit dusty) will finally get a green light on that inquisition project number two now.  
    •  I was fantasizing about how I could (none)
      order up a nice load of big wooden stakes and have them delivered to the Holy See, courtesy of The Inquisition. Funny how the headlines could have trumpeted: The Inquisition is Back in Business!"

      I'm counting on Le Canard Enchaîné but I'll have to wait till next week because they got this business done in time to pre-empt this weeks' edition.

  •  OT: Did you guys ever see the South Park (none)
    on the priest abuse scandal?  Man, that was a good one.

    Visit jScoop - a new frontier of blogging technology.

    by pacified on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:57:09 PM PDT

  •  that's bad (none)
    no wonder they are in all this trouble now.

    not only that, but I think that's criminal conspiracy in this country, no?

  •  Secrecy... (none)
    The law to which Ratzinger's letter referred was issued by Pope John XXIII 40 years ago (a link to the PDF of the document can be found in Boucher's entry). The law itself is chilling, as it describes a mandatory condition of secrecy for both the perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

    It might be important to note that the document applies to sex abuse attaching to sacramental confession between penitent and confessor -- and the condition of silence imposed on all participants to the proceedings is rather explicitly intended to protect the secrecy which the Church demands around confession in the first place.

    It also explicitly applies only to the things the person becomes aware of through the proceedings and their access to them. This specifically means that a victim is not obliged to secrecy regarding the the abuse itself.

    Anyhow, I don't understand how, even accepting the worst characterization of John XXIII's law, this is a strike against Ratzinger. I mean, the accusation here is that he should be condemned because he factually correctly reported that the law remained in effect? The only person who could have changed it at the time was John Paul II.

    Now, you could suggest that, now that he is in a position to change it, he ought to...though I'd be interested in hearing what you think it ought to be changed too.

    •  what about this (none)
      "They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials."

      that quote doesn't go with what you just claimed.

      •  Dear Lord. . . (none)
        I was waiting to see if this church would finally point itself in the correct direction after John Paul 2 died.

        Well, the wait is over.  I'm too old to wait any longer.  I'm out.

      •  Quote doesn't go with the text, either... (none)
        It appears to be a mischaracterization of Paragraph 13, which refers to the same oath given to others in Paragraph 11, with the same coverage, except that the denouncer and witnesses have additional freedom from censure for certain violations. Still, the secrecy pertains to the information made known through access to the proceedings, and there is no indication of any additional secrecy imposed on the denouncer or witnesses.
    •  Any formal policy (4.00)
      that advocates secrecy around the molestation and rape of children is unethical irrespective of the Church's views on the sanctity of the confessional.  The entire notion is ludicrous and does not withstand scrutiny in respect to criminal law.  

      The policy also states that bishops are to deal with complaints of abuse in utmost secrecy and that has nothing to do with the sanctity of the confessional and everything to do with protecting pedophilic priests.

      It simply does not matter where the abuse takes place or whether that abuse becomes known through the confessional.  The Catholic Church has a moral responsibility to protect children from child molesting priests, and it has consistently and systematically not only failed but also declined to do so.  

      Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts

      by lightiris on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 05:18:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Outrage (none)
        that advocates secrecy around the molestation and rape of children is unethical irrespective of the Church's views on the sanctity of the confessional.
        The policy isn't about children, specifically. Ignoring the sanctity of the confessional, the secrecy of the process is intended to protect the victim. It does not prevent the victim from going public with the abuse. It prevents people who learn of material presented by the victim under the seal of the confessional during the proceedings from publicizing them.
        It simply does not matter where the abuse takes place or whether that abuse becomes known through the confessional. The Catholic Church has a moral responsibility to protect children from child molesting priests, and it has consistently and systematically not only failed but also declined to do so.
        This I agree with, and I agree that that is an outrage. Depriving victims and witnesses of the secrecy of the confessional seal would, however, do nothing to advance the cause of correcting that problem, rather, it would further harm those already harmed. The problem is not the formal policy, the problem is that instead of following the policy, people were shuffled around without investigation and punishment. That is the outrage. Ratzinger factually reporting the law in effect at the time is not an outrage; and I would maintain that even if the law itself were an outrage, but in this case I don't even see that as a defensible position. The outrage wasn't the law, but the lawlessness.
        •  Well, we can disagree. (none)
          From a viewpoint firmly grounded in criminal law, I have no use or respect for the secrecy or sanctity of the confessional when it comes to crimes against minors.  And the church shouldn't hide behind it when it comes to the abuse of children, either.  Any information--no matter where it is gleaned--that relates to the molestation of a child should be reported, the sanctity of the confessional notwithstanding.  Period.  The Church fails repeatedly to put the needs of children first, and for that it will remain a reprehensible organization.  

          Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts

          by lightiris on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:05:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I See Your Point (none)
          The original document itself, in PDF, is a little difficult to parse for one (like myself) not well-versed in canonical law. My point with the diary, however, is not merely to point out that this law (which was kept secret until recently) is part of a long tradition of silence and secrecy designed to protect priests, not parishoners (which I'll explain in a second), but also that Ratzinger's timing was telling. In the midst of a storm of controversey and media attention, reiterating the church's arguably callous stance on sexual abuse sends a very clear message: don't air our dirty laundry or you can be kicked out. It's the spirit of the timing with which I quibble as much as the letter itself.

          The reason I don't believe, from my layman's reading, that the law itself is designed to protect the sanctity of the confessional is that it refers to the conduct of church officials at all levels. An alleged victim making a complaint against a priest would not be, in many cases, confessing to the Bishop in ritual fashion. It is my understanding that parishoners don't often get the opportunity to confess to those of Bishop level and above. Unless the sexual activity itself took place in the confessional, this law enacts new restrictions on the conduct of the victims, and uses the threat of excommunication to back them up. Were the law designed simply to protect the sanctity of the confessional, it would be a different (although still arguable) matter.

          "So much thinking in our society has been replaced by following. I know God didn't make us for that." --Keith Olbermann

          by Irony on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:28:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's an abuse of the confessional (none)
      When crimminality is involved, a priest has considerable latitude: pardon the sinner, punish the crime.
  •  In the news... (none)
    Billimon has a wonderful series of quotes from the new Pope regarding what he promised during the two-day conclave, and what he's said in the past. Find it here.

    The 78-year-old German cardinal steadily built support before and during the two-day conclave, according to these accounts. He ate breakfast with African and Asian cardinals. He assured U.S. prelates that he was in tune with their efforts to deal with child sexual abuse by priests. He sought to allay fears that he would set back attempts at interfaith dialogue.

    "So much thinking in our society has been replaced by following. I know God didn't make us for that." --Keith Olbermann

    by Irony on Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 02:14:06 PM PDT

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