A battle of documents has emerged surrounding the Archbishop Ratzinger’s handling of the case of a pedophile priest in Munich in the 1980s. After the German media received documents of specifics of the case the Vatican this week released documents from the period that painted Ratzinger in a better light.
New documents show how the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — and his successor Reinhard Marx failed to properly deal with a suspected pedophile. Despite massive allegations of abuse, the archdiocese allowed the priest to continue working with children.
According to the allegations, during his tenure in Munich, Ratzinger did not give sufficient attention to the type of duties that were assigned to the alleged pedophile H. Despite massive allegations of abuse levied against the priest, the archdiocese led by Ratzinger allowed H. to continue to be involved in church work with children and young people.
For months now, very little progress has been made in clearing up this case. This is partly because the current archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, who the pope recently promoted to cardinal, swiftly decided that the matter was settled.
But his victims are still waiting in vain for a genuine clarification of the matter. Wilfried Fesselmann, for instance, who says that he was abused by H. in 1979, wrote to Pope Benedict XVI last May.
The New York Times, 12/2/2010:
The new documentation, released online Wednesday by the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, appeared to defend the pope against claims that as head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office he was part of a culture of inaction and delay that failed to swiftly discipline priests who had abused minors.
The article cited in particular a 1988 letter that the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, sent to the Vatican calling for “a swifter and simplified” procedure for disciplining priests “found guilty of grave and scandalous conduct.”
The letters appear in a lengthy article by Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, the deputy of the Vatican’s office of legislative texts, about changes to the Vatican penal code. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the letters had emerged in discussions about the code, and that “it seemed useful to publish them now.”