Apr 23, 2010

Here’s a crazy idea: What if the Pope is innocent?

How much actual evidence is there against Pope Benedict? None at all. Sure lots of people, including many Catholics, dislike the Pope. But being unpopular is not a crime, writes Paul Mees.

Does anyone remember the Catholic s-x abuse scandal at the Vienna Boys Choir? According to The Age of  March 19, the choir “has been caught up in accusations that pedophile priests systematically abused their choristers.” The same day’s Australian reported that “the crisis over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has intensified” as a result of the choir scandal.

The Australian story was a beat-up, The Age’s an outright fabrication. The Vienna Boys Choir is a private organisation, and the complaints of abuse were made against teachers and older choristers, not priests. Once this became apparent, the media dropped the story: the choristers’ suffering ceased to be interesting without a church angle. But there have been no apologies, retractions or Media Watch denunciations.

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145 thoughts on “Here’s a crazy idea: What if the Pope is innocent?

  1. Eponymous

    A beat up? In the media? I find that very hard to believe.

  2. David Sanderson

    Attempting to prosecute the Pope is very misguided – futile and easily characterised as persecution. Redress is most appropriately gained by exposure and public campaigning.

  3. paddy

    [Unpopularity is not a crime] ???
    Oh yes it is!

    It’s also a mortal sin, a hanging offence and in extreme cases,
    it’s been known to draw the ultimate punishment.

    The soft cushion and the comfy chair!!!

  4. klewso

    Yeahhhhh, and what if he’s not?

  5. Greg Angelo

    Having recently finished reading a book involving the appalling sexual abuse of children in the custody of the Christian Bros in Ireland, I have little sympathy for the appalling bastards within the Catholic Church who abused their trust and satisfied their sexual needs by sodomising and beating children. I have even less sympathy for the church officials including the then Cardinal Ratzinger (and now Pope Benedict) for whom protecting the church’s image from damage was apparently more important than the stretched anal sphincters and corrupted psyches of the abused children. Whilst I accept that the Vienna but boys choir was not part of the Catholic Church, and there is no direct evidence of child abuse admissible in court at present in relation to this choir, this in no way detracts from the culpability of Vatican officials in covering up child abuse within the church. This includes the current Pope Benedict.
    The following two quotations in relation to Vatican cover-up of child abuse are readily available on the Internet. I would suggest that before people run around defending the Catholic hierarchy that they seriously researched the subject.
    “The Vatican moved to defuse criticism after the German justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said Monday that a Vatican secrecy rule has played a role in a “wall of silence” surrounding sexual abuse of children. She cited a 2001 Vatican document – drawn up by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – requiring even the most serious abuse cases to be first investigated internally.”
    (Huffington Post :April 23 2010)
    “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, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.
    The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows 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.”
    (New York Times: 24 March 2010)

    These two quotations are merely what is readily available from a quick Google search and I have not deeply researched the subject. However anybody who is an apologist for any person involved in a cover-up of child abuse deserves to be condemned even if not personally involved themselves. At no stage should the church be above civil law. Pederasts should be handed to police authorities regardless of their religious status.

  6. John

    This story is just like the one about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
    I prefer the words of an earlier pope: “Don’t do it”.

  7. Bob

    Letter from the pope:

    Apparently some of my employees have been raping your children.
    Sorry about that.
    Also, the managers of those workers refused to take action when the rapes were reported.
    Sorry about that.
    Anyway, I’ve written to the workers and the managers and told them not to do it any more.
    So it’s all better now.

  8. Paul Mees

    Greg Angelo’s comment illustrates the point I was trying to make. Editorialising in the Huffington Post and NYT does not count as evidence, and nor do Google searches. The 2001 document Ratzinger helped prepare can be read on-line and does not say what Sabine Leutheusser claims it does (or at least what the HPost says she claims). As for the post from the NYT, I thought I had explained what really happened in Wisconsin in my post– which was based mainly on the documents on the NYT site, which do not in fact support the story they ran. To answer someone who claims there has been a media beat-up by quoting some of the media beat-ups is not very convincing.

  9. Angra

    What if the Pope was innocent?

    Actually 13 of them have been.

  10. Gibbot

    All well and good. If Ratzinger’s defense is as watertight as suggested, then he should have no trouble demonstrating so in court.

    I’ll also note that like the MSM, Dawkins has been portrayed as the driving force behind the movement to have Ratzinger stand trial. While Dawkins certainly supports the move, it is Geoffrey Robertson that is putting forth the case. Of course Robertson is a little harder to portray as the bully, what with his lifelong career as a campaigner for human rights and all.

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