Late Pope ‘covered up’ sexual abuse scandal 04 Apr 2010 The plight of the Vatican continues to draw worldwide attention as revelations surface that the late pope John Paul II had allegedly blocked an investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic priests….According to Schonborn, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI, had tried to investigate the allegations of sexual abuse by clergies as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His efforts, Schonborn claimed, had nevertheless been blocked by “the Vatican”, an apparent reference to John Paul…..This comes as John Paul also faced criticism last week from his home country of Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests.
How a Molesting Case Emerged Decades Later – Wilfried Fesselmann recently told his story of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest in 1979. The priest was transferred, but not formally suspended until last month. By NICHOLAS KULISH April 1, 2010 ESSEN, Germany — The case that has raised questions about the future pope’s handling of a pedophile priest in Germany came to light three decades after it occurred, and then almost by chance. It happened when Wilfried Fesselmann, an early victim, said he stumbled on Internet photographs of the priest who sexually abused him, still working with children….Father Hullermann went on to molest other boys and was not formally suspended until last month, after the German church acknowledged that “bad mistakes” were made in the handling of his case. The church said the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties in 1980 was made solely by Cardinal Ratzinger’s top aide at the time, but church officials also said the future pope was sent a memo about the reassignment. While the church has acknowledged Father Hullermann’s extensive history of sexual abuse, there have been no court proceedings on Mr. Fesselmann’s claims. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/world/europe/02church.html
US cardinal protected child abusing priest: court documents By Lucile Malandain (AFP) 4/3/10 WASHINGTON — A staunch defender of Pope Benedict XVI in pedophile scandals now gripping the Vatican reassigned a US priest and alleged child molester in the 1990s without warning parishioners, court documents showed. In sworn testimony in 2006 about his time as Archbishop of Portland, Oregon (1986-1995), US Cardinal William Levada said he decided to reassign the offending priest after he underwent therapy. “The abuse in question had happened 20 years before, or so… the recommendation of the therapy was that he was not at risk for re-abusing and that it would be prudent to reassign him… and prudent also to put conditions that would make sure that he would not be overstressed to do some inappropriate behavior,” Levada testified….In the testimony, Levada was asked if he had warned parishioners about the Oregon priest’s past — inappropriate sexual behavior with teenagers in the 1970s. He answered that he had not. “I took what I believe to be the prudent step of giving complete information to the pastor of the parish… and assigning him as the supervisor to (the priest) who (would) have weekly or regular meetings with him and so forth,” the cardinal said.
Belgian bishop denounces silence on sex abuses 4/4/10 Belgium’s top Roman Catholic bishop has denounced the “guilty silence” of church officials in the pedophile priest scandal that has rocked much of Europe and the US. Archbishop of Brussels, Andre Joseph Leonard, has criticized the church for often worrying more about the reputation of priests and “savagely exploiting the abused children.” http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=122393§ionid=351020606
John Paul ‘ignored abuse of 2,000 boys’ Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer abused an estimated 2,000 boys for decades without sanction Bojan Pancevski in Vienna and John Follain in Rome 4/4/10 Allegations that the late pontiff blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood. The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Groer’s successor, criticised the handling of that scandal and other abuse cases last week after holding a special service in St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna, entitled “Admitting our guilt”.
Schönborn condemned the “sinful structures” within the church and the patterns of “silencing” victims and “looking away”….The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse. After an outcry, Groer was replaced and made the prior of a convent. He was never punished and issued only a vague apology in 1998 before retreating to a nunnery where he lived until his death in 2003. Some of his victims were offered “hush money” from the church….John Paul also faced criticism last week from Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests. Letters detailing the charges were sent to John Paul’s office and to Ratzinger in 2000 but were ignored. Paetz resigned in 2002 when the allegations became public….John Paul was also accused of ignoring controversy over John Magee, a former private secretary to three popes including the Polish pontiff, who named him Bishop of Cloyne in 1987. Late last month Magee was forced to resign after an independent report found that his diocese in Ireland had put children at risk. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7086738.ece
Pope’s immunity could be challenged in Britain 4/4/10 By PAISLEY DODDS LONDON (AP) – Protests are growing against Pope Benedict XVI’s planned trip to Britain, where some lawyers question whether the Vatican’s implicit statehood status should shield the pope from prosecution over sex crimes by pedophile priests….Although Benedict has not been accused of any crime, senior British lawyers are now examining whether the pope should have immunity as a head of state and whether he could be prosecuted under the principle of universal jurisdiction for an alleged systematic cover-up of sexual abuses by priests. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_POPE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-04-04-07-17-26