Pope Benedict to be arrested over 'crimes against humanity'.

Joseph Ratzinger resisted the unfrocking of a paedophile priest - Comment on 2010 August 12

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2010 August 12
In the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger – who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has responsibility for tackling abuse by clerics – said the "good of the universal Church" needed to be considered in any unfrocking. He also urged "as much paternal care as possible" for Kiesle. Read more:

Today, on the 12th of August 2010, I found quite a number of articles about the spectacle, the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. In one of the articles it reads: “Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany,” and Chile for example is not mentioned there, see my comment of 30th July 2010, and this is therefore a sign that the public is not aware of the true extent of the scandal, but certainly is the Catholic Church, and it will be quite glad about it that the true extent is not known. There is therefore still much for what we can prepare ourselves. The prophecy says: “I have announced it to you but you do not want to believe it - and so it will therefore surprise you and then you are to pay attention only to what you will hear because it will inform you about much.” So we will continue to pay attention only to what we will hear because it will inform us about much.

In the first quarter of the year of this scandal it was about criminal priests, and in the second quarter about crimes and cover-ups of high ranking office bearers, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, and since this scandal has now become more than half a year old, the spotlight seems to level out at the top position, at Joseph Ratzinger.

In my commentary of the 5th of April 2010 one can read the following:

“More than 10 000 people have signed a petition on Downing Street’s website against the pope’s four-day visit to England and Scotland in September, which will cost UK taxpayers an estimated £15 million.”

It will be interesting to observe this visit of the pope in September. Perhaps one now wants to try to prevent the visit, and to still save some of the £15 million, the new government, which is very keen on saving, could perhaps make use of this necessity to save to ask the pope to be so kind and help them saving and stay at home.

I now bring a couple of excerpts from the articles:

Richard Dawkins planning to have Pope Benedict arrested over 'crimes against humanity'

Richard Dawkins, the atheist campaigner and evolutionist, is planning to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested when he comes to Britain later this year for "crimes against humanity".

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, are seeking advice from human rights lawyers as to what legal action can be taken against the pope over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

It emerged this weekend that in 1985 when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, the pope signed a letter arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys.

Dawkin and Hitchens believe he should face criminal proceedings because his "first instinct" was to protect the church rather than the children in its care.

They are hoping to exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, on a Spanish warrant when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope will be visit London, Glasgow and Coventry, during his time in the UK between September 16 and 19.

“This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence," Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion, said.

“This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment," Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said.

Their lawyers, barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, believe they can ask the Crown prosecution Service and that Pope Benedict will not be able to claim diplomatic immunity since he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.

“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens. “Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.”

Storm after Pope allows bishops to retain jobs

Pope Benedict has delivered a severe blow to the authority of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin after he rejected the resignations of two bishops named in the Murphy Report into cover-ups of paedophile clerics.

The Pontiff's long-awaited decision in support of Dublin Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field unleashed a storm of furious reaction from victims of clerical abuse in Ireland and the US.

Dr Walsh and Bishop Field tendered their resignations to Rome eight months ago after Dr Martin called for all bishops named in the Murphy Report to take responsibility for their past actions.

Widespread dismay at the Papal decision will intensify protests by abuse groups next month during the Pope's official state visit to Scotland, England and Wales.

And the Vatican rebuff has dealt a heavy blow to Dr Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat who was appointed in 2004 to lead the Catholic Church in Ireland through a growing storm of child-abuse scandals.

From the start he has clashed with predecessors who oversaw a culture of concealment of child molestation by transferring abusive priests to new parishes in Ireland, Britain and the US.

The Survivors of Child Abuse organisation said the decision to reject their resignations would do nothing to help victims.

One in Four described it as an “extraordinary move” that only served to raise questions about accountability in the Church.

And a US group — Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests — urged the Pope to fire both bishops.

Survivor Andrew Madden, who was abused as a child by paedophile priest Ivan Payne, said the announcement came as no surprise.

“Today's announcement also shows how utterly meaningless the instruction was that Pope Benedict gave to Irish bishops to identify steps that would bring healing to victims of clerical child sexual abuse,” he said.

Vatican wary of resignation 'domino effect' in Rome

Vatican observers last night speculated that Pope Benedict's decision not to accept the resignations of Dublin auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field is an indication of a Holy See “Maginot Line” on the question of episcopal resignations in light ...

Catholic Church decided not to unfrock priest who abused deaf boys

A priest who admitted indecently assaulting deaf boys at a school in Yorkshire has been allowed to remain as a cleric, it can be revealed, as the scandal over abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church moves to Britain.

The Rt Rev Arthur Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, sent letters to the Vatican asking for advice on what action should be taken against Fr Neil Gallanagh, after details of his offences emerged, but decided not to unfrock him.

Victims' support groups said that the Catholic Church's failure to pursue the toughest possible course of action against Gallanagh seriously undermined its attempts to send a clear statement that priests guilty of abuse have been properly punished.

The disclosure comes as Pope Benedict XVI finds himself embroiled in new revelations over child sex abuse, following the emergence of a letter signed by him in 1985, before he became Pope, resisting the unfrocking of Stephen Kiesle, a US priest who had been convicted of offences against young boys.

The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the diocese of Oakland, in the US, and the Vatican about the proposed unfrocking of Kiesle, sentenced to three years of probation in 1978 for lewd conduct with two young boys in San Francisco.

In the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger – who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has responsibility for tackling abuse by clerics – said the "good of the universal Church" needed to be considered in any unfrocking. He also urged "as much paternal care as possible" for Kiesle.

Kiesle was ultimately unfrocked in 1987. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting molesting a young girl in 1995.

Now aged 63, he is on the registered sex offenders list in California. The Vatican says he was exercising due caution before sacking the priest.

Last month it was claimed that while he was a Cardinal in the 1990s, the current Pope also took a lenient approach towards another American priest who was suspected of having molested as many as 200 boys at a school for the deaf.

The Vatican has insisted 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.

He held the position prior to becoming Pope in 2005.

The decision not to unfrock Gallanagh, who also abused children at deaf school, is likely to prove embarrassing for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which has up until now escaped from being dragged into the crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church in several countries over the past year.

Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany.

Gallanagh abused boys while working as the chaplain of St John's School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, in the 1970s. The abuse first came to light in 2002, by which time he was working as a parish priest in Horsforth, Leeds.

In 2005, by then 75 and retired, Gallanagh pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two teenage pupils at the school. He was given a six-month suspended sentence and a further 11 charges involving boys as young as 11 were left on file.

However, he escaped being unfrocked – or laicised – following Bishop Roche's decision that it would be sufficient to stop him from exercising his ministry.

"He is not in good standing with the Church as a priest," said John Grady, the bishop's spokesman.

"He is not allowed to exercise ministry of any kind. He has observed these restrictions to the letter."

The diocese did not refer the case to the Vatican until 2007, according to Mr Grady, by which time Benedict XVI was Pope.

"When the Neil Gallanagh case was sent to Rome, the diocese did not ask for laicisation," Mr Grady said.

"Bishop Roche took the view that Neil had had his faculties removed at the time of the disclosure – he had not acted as a priest or worn priest's dress – and still does not."

Gallanagh, who currently lives in a flat "under the observance of the church" and has been financially supported by the Church with a retirement grant, was moved to the school in 1973 despite having been fined for assaulting a nine-year-old boy 13 years earlier on the Isle of Man, while he was a priest in Northern Ireland.

At the time of the 1973 offence he told police "it was a horrible thing to do", adding: "I have been worried with this sexual trouble for some time and recently it has become an obsession with me."

Margaret Kennedy, founder of Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), a support group, said that the Church had not gone far enough in punishing Gallanagh.

"Defrocking him would send out a statement that he's not fit to be a priest," she said.

"He should not be left with this honour. By not defrocking him it says that he is still a man of God and that is clearly not the case.

"It's insulting to the victims who have suffered that he has been allowed to remain as a priest."

Kevin Walton, who was abused as a boy at the school, said he was shocked to hear that Fr Gallanagh has been allowed to remain a priest.

“He was known to have abused before in Ireland, then to Boston Spa with vulnerable Deaf boys,” he said.

“The church has not acted strongly enough at all, too many silences, brushing under carpet, not saying any more about it, as if they hope things will quieten down.”

Dr Williams told the BBC the sex abuse revelations had been a “colossal trauma” for Ireland in particular.

He added: ''I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.”

''And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility - that's not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland.''

 

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