Blue Collar Philosophy took the bait from the secularist media hook, line, and sinker. I have posted another defense of the Pope here and more information on the issue here. I would have thought that a person of his usual skepticism of the liberal media and liberals in general would have been more adept at realizing the true intent of the liberal secular media in relation to its attacks on the Catholic Church.
MercatorNet states "According to the London Times, Fr Kiesle was only 31 when in 1978 he was “sentenced [by civil authorities apparently] to three years’ probation after pleading no contest to charges of molesting two young boys” ages not given, in a rectory in San Francisco. Three years later his bishop wrote to the CDF recommending that Kiesle be laicised. (As in Irish cases, however, it would seem the bishop already had powers to do this under Canon Law.)"
Please remember the social atmosphere in 1981 versus today. The same year that a letter was sent to the Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger had just become the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and had a mountain of letters awaiting him regarding various types of abuse issues within the Catholic Church resulting from the chaotic 1970's, and had new set of responsibilities on his plate. This wasn't like Cardinal Ratzinger had been in the position for many years and outright ignored the pleas coming from San Francisco. It would seem that whomever Cardinal Ratzinger took over for should take the lions share of the blame.
"The CDF letter, bearing Cardinal Ratzinger’s signature, and no doubt representing his views if not actually written by him, said the arguments for removing Kiesle were of “grave significance”, and he urged more careful review and more time, taking into account the “good of the universal Church” and the “detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke within the community of Christ’s faithful, particularly considering the young age” of the priest. "
Could this have been handled differently? Maybe. But, that doesn't mean that Cardinal Ratzinger was part of a huge "cover-up" with the Catholic Church. In fact, it was the Bishops across America who were complicit in the coverup of sexual abuse allegations and listened to the advice of secular thereapists who thought there was a cure for these pedophile priests. The therapists thought the solution for the problem was to move the pedophile priests from parish-to-parish. This is outrageous!! This is unconscionable!!! I feel for all those little children who were violated. What those pedophile priests did was immoral and horrific.
"It is clear that pastoral considerations required more caution, not for the case to be buried. Didn’t the local population in San Francisco know about Kiesle already? Was he ever returned to active ministry? It seems not, but this is a crucial point that the reports don’t cover. In any case, Fr Kiesle was laicised in 1987. In 2002 he was arrested and charged with 13 counts of child molestation -- all from the 1970s, note. Eventually he served time in prison for molesting a young girl in 1995."
Plus, as Phil Lawler points out, journalists had their eyes blind-folded to the facts and ignored journalistic standards all to enagage in an anti-Catholic smear campaign. Here are some key questions and facts that Phil Lawler points out:
• Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.
• Had Oakland's Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest's application.
• Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle's dismissal from the priesthood.
• Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.
• Did Cardinal Ratzinger's reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.
• Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.
• Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle's predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation-- before the case ever reached Rome.
Yes, this is tragic, but that doesn't mean that there is evidence that Cardinal Ratzinger is culpable for a "cover-up". We must pray for the healing of all the children who were violated by pedophile priests. We must not let our feelings, axes to grind, political or theological differences with the Catholic Church cloud our judgement as to the reality as it relates to the sex abuse cases within the Catholic Church.