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UPDATED: Pope Directly Tied To Abuse Scandals In U.S.

by David Badash on March 25, 2010

in Legal Issues,Religion

Vatican Refused To Defrock Priest Who Molested 200 Young Boys

Can A Pope Be Impeached?

Pope Benedict XVI has now been directly tied to scandals and cover-ups in the U.S. and in Germany surrounding priests under his supervision who molested young boys for years, according to an article just published in The New York Times.

UPDATE Via MSNBC:

“There was no cover-up in the sexual abuse case by American priest Lawrence C. Murphy, the Vatican said Thursday.

“The Vatican also denounced what it called attempts to involve Pope Benedict XVI in the scandal.”

Wisconsin bishops had repeated communications regarding these molestations with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.  The Times reports that,

“Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church…”

The Times also reports that “while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.”

“The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.”

The Wisconsin case, now a legal one, goes back to the 1960s. The Times notes,

“…deaf former students spent more than 30 years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a very, very angry man.”

Almost since his election in April, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has had to deal with world-wide sexual abuse scandals of his priests. The Pope recently said gay marriage “attacks mankind,” which is an “endangered species.”

But The Times report should come as no surprise. In a 2006 article, “Pope ‘led cover-up of child abuse by priests,’” the London Evening Standard reported,

“The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.

“In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.

“The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.”

Yes, the BBC reported four years ago that Pope Benedict XVI threatened sex abuse victims they would be excommunicated if they repeated allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

The Catholic Church has been hit by worldwide reports of sex abuse scandals in Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Germany.

The Huffington Post reports,

“According to Stern magazine, Only 17 percent of Germans polled said that they still trust the Catholic church, compared to 29 percent in late January, just before the first abuse cases there were made public.”

Embroiled in these worldwide sex scandals, the Pope most recently had a sex scandal come even closer to home. Actually, the Pope was confronted just weeks ago with a sex scandal in his very own home. A member of the Pope’s own household was caught in a gay male prostitution sex scandal during a corruption investigation.

But the news that then Cardinal Ratzinger, who was “the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer,” and is now the Pope, “played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests,” brings the inevitable question of how sustainable is this Pope in his current role? Can the Vatican continue to support the very man who enabled the abuse of thousands upon thousands of young boys around the world?

Can a Pope be impeached?

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