The UK Times headlines "Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry."
The case in question involves a man who was sent to the diocese of then Cardinal Ratzinger for therapy after he had been convicted of abusing a minor. According to the article "The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, who was then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place . . . The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said that there had been no complaints against the priest during the therapy at a church community in Munich."
So, the man was convicted, and according to the protocol of the time, was sent for therapy. Cardinal Ratzinger said it was allowable for him to come to this therapy program. After therapy, he was sent back to pastoral ministry. Was this the decision of Cardinal Ratzinger? According to the same article "the decision to let him continue working in Grafing was taken by Gerhard Gruber, now 81, who was vicar general of the archdiocese . . . Mgr Gruber said that the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower-level officials."
The New York Times had a better version of the story, but basically contains the same information. "The archdiocese said that a priest accused of molesting boys was given therapy in 1980 and later allowed to resume pastoral duties, before committing further abuses and being prosecuted. Pope Benedict, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, approved the priest’s transfer for therapy. A subordinate took full responsibility for allowing the priest to later resume pastoral work, the archdiocese said in a statement."
I think it is important not to forget that as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger reopened the case against Fr. Marcial Marciel who founded the Legionnaries of Christ. The LA Times reported "Pope Benedict XVI disgraced one of the most powerful priests in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the ultraconservative Legion of Christ. Benedict's decision to publicly discipline the priest came after an investigation into allegations that Maciel had sexually abused "more than 20 and less than 100 victims" in seminary, according to the National Catholic Reporter."
The Pope has spoken out repeated against abuse. I think we all agree that mistakes were made in the past. Let's try to focus on the new abuse guidelines that are being implemented all over the world in the Catholic Church. Hopefully other churches will learn from our mistakes.
I'm adding a few more links to balanced articles if you want to keep up with the new developments.
Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis- John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
Yet as always, the first casualty of any crisis is perspective. There are at least three aspects of Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis which are being misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized, in today's discussion. Bringing clarity to these points is not a matter of excusing the pope, but rather of trying to understand accurately how we got where we are. . .Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?- John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
To suggest, however, that Ratzinger was the Vatican's "point man" on sex abuse for almost twenty-five years, and to fault him for the mishandling of every case that arose between 1981 and 2001, is misleading. Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome.
By all accounts, Ratzinger was punctilious about studying the files, making him one of the few churchmen anywhere in the world to have read the documentation on virtually every Catholic priest ever credibly accused of sexual abuse. As a result, he acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic church can claim.
Driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as "filth" in the church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a "conversion experience" throughout 2003-04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess.
Of the 500-plus cases that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dealt with prior to Benedict's election to the papacy, the substantial majority were returned to the local bishop authorizing immediate action against the accused priest -- no canonical trial, no lengthy process, just swift removal from ministry and, often, expulsion from the priesthood. In a more limited number of cases, the congregation asked for a canonical trial, and in a few cases the congregation ordered the priest reinstated.
That marked a stark reversal from the initial insistence of Vatican officials, Ratzinger included, that in almost every instance the accused priest deserved the right to canonical trial. Having sifted through the evidence, Ratzinger and Scicluna apparently drew the conclusion that in many instances the proof was so overwhelming that immediate action was required.