Authors Greg Erlandson and Matthew Bunson continue the discussion they began in the book from Our Sunday Visitor, Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal. Send us feedback at email@example.com. Kindle Edition available for download at amazon.com.
The invaluable media criticism blog "GetReligion" does a good job deconstructing the latest attempt to tie a direct line between Pope Benedict XVI and the mishandling of U.S. abuser priests.
This case involves a request by the bishop of Springfield, Ill., to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, to forcibly laicize a priest. Reports AP: "The future Pope Benedict XVI refused to defrock an American priest who confessed to molesting numerous children and even served prison time for it, simply because the cleric wouldn’t agree to the discipline."
But GetReligion points out that Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the authority to swoop in with an administrative decree (in fact, it was within the bishop's authority and responsibility to hold a Church trial of the priest).
The problem with this phrasing is that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not have the authority at that time to laicize a priest involuntarily. It’s sort of like saying “Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to order involuntary kidney transplant.” It may be true, in one sense, but it’s just not even a possibility. Our courts have processes for how we handle the accused. These processes help us assign cases to the proper court and help us grant the accused certain rights.
Catholic Faith Resources | For Catholic Parishes | Order OSV Products | RSS | Advertise | About Us | Contact Us | Jobs