VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI sees the priestly sex scandal as a "test for him and the church," his spokesman said Wednesday, as bishops around Europe used Holy Week's solemn call for penitence to pledge transparency in dealing with the abuse of children.
But amid such signs of humility, a senior cleric also mounted a sharp counterattack to the allegations now swirling around the papacy. In an article, the official accused the New York Times of faulting the pope unfairly for his treatment of past abuse allegations.
Swiss bishops urged victims to consider filing criminal complaints. German bishops opened a hot line for victims. Danish bishops launched an inquiry into decades-old claims. And Austria's senior cleric, Cardinal Christophe Schoenborn, admitted church guilt as he presided over a service for victims billed as a sign of repentance.
"Thank you for breaking your silence," Schoenborn told the victims. "A lot has been broken open. There is less looking away. But there is still a lot to do."
A week after Pope Benedict XVI excoriated Irish bishops for gross errors of judgment in handling cases of priests who rape children, European bishops one after another admitted to mistakes, reached out to victims and promised to act when they learn about abuse.
I find this popes statement appalling on so many levels. In May of 2001 the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinge sent out a memo stating:
it orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.
'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice.
Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, said: 'It speaks for itself. You have to ask: why do you not start the clock ticking until the kid turns 18? It's an obstruction of justice.'
Their mea culpas and pledges to be more open and cooperative with police echoed American bishops' initial responses when the U.S. priest-abuse scandal emerged in 2002. They come amid mounting public outrage over a new wave of abuse claims across Europe and what victims say has been a pattern of cover-up by bishops and the Vatican itself.
And they were all announced during the most solemn week of the church's liturgical calendar. As the Swiss bishops noted Wednesday, Holy Week is a period of penance, when the faithful are supposed to admit their guilt, examine wrongdoing, find ways to improve and ask God and people for forgiveness.
One can only hope that the less faithful will start seeing just what an evil and corrupt organization that they have been supporting are; and see just how evil this little hypocrite of a fucking toad their pope is.
This is finally starting to bring hope that one day this ignorant and asinine religion; will follow the same path as did the others that were rife with pedophilia. Like the old Greek religions and all their baby-eating fucking gods did. But until that day, this presents an excellent business opportunity; I’m going to start selling anatomically-correct blow-up little boy sex dolls. I figure I’ll make mass dollars off of the priests; because they’ll be under so much scrutiny – they will no longer be able to fuck the real ones!