Italian prolific author, Piergiorgio Odifreddi, wrote a book about the problems of the Roman Catholic Church faced by the now Pope Emeritus Benny prior to his resignation. How could an outstanding author of Odifreddi’s stature cast a cloud over Benny’s papacy?
In an eleven page response to Odifreddi’s book, “Dear Pope, I Write To You”, the ex-pope points out that “I never sought to conceal these things”. So we’re all on the same page, the “these things” were pedo-priests diddling innocent little boys.
If Benny said he never concealed “these things”, then it is the duty of over a billion Catholics worldwide – including me – to accept what he says as fact. And, of course, I absolutely do.
Why anyone would attempt to besmirch Benny’s stellar papal history is blasphemy. As we all know before Benny became pope he was known as Cardinal Ratzinger (Ratzo) under Pope JP2. In 1981 he was appointed to the most powerful position in the church, outside of the pope himself, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) formerly known as the Inquisition.
With all the sex abuse allegations being exposed to the police and the press, what choice did Ratzo have other than sending a letter on January 24, 2001 to all the bishops in each of the Church’s 2,200 plus dioceses spanning the globe instructing them to shut their mouths about any reports of sexual abuse by their priests. If not, their sorry butts would be kicked out of the priesthood and they would also be kicked out of the church (excommunicated)…a quick check of Craigslist.com’s Help Wanted listings will reveal no company seeking to hire an ex-bishop.
Ratzo’s letter also stated that the bishops were free to disclose this information ten years after the minor making the sexual fuss turned 18. In other words, the victim would then be out of the statute of limitations and unable to sue the church. Now that just makes good business sense. Facing billions of potential clergy misconduct settlements, this would not only put a dent in our church’s coffers but we may be forced to sell a fresco or two. I mean, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling featuring God finger bumping Adam would probably easily fetch a couple of bil.
Can you blame Ratzo/Benny for his protecting the church’s assets? Once he took office at the CDF he ordered thousands of cases of priests doing the nasty with minors to be reported to no other office in the Vatican except his, the CDF.
He probably was inundated with cases of misconduct like that of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of the Milwaukee area, said to have molested hundreds of deaf children. Some of these children would go into the darkened confessional box to confess their sins in sign language through a hole cut out from the penitent’s side to the good confessor’s (Fr. Murphy’s) side. Victims allege the pious Fr. Murphy used this as his personal glory hole.
Catholic bashing reporters uncovered two letters sent personally to Cardinal Ratzo/Pope Benny in his role of Big Kahuna at the CDF by the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland which dealt with Fr. Murphy’s chicanery. As you would expect Ratzo/Benny was so enraged he caught the next flight – Roma to Milwaukee – to go all Lorena Bobbitt on Murphy’s bologna pony. At least that’s what we mere Catholic underlings would have done. But that’s what separates Ratzo/Benny from us. He, bless his soul, did nothing. No rational person would consider this as concealment.
When Ratzo was elevated to be Pope Benny, he appointed an American, Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco to fill his spot as prefect of the CDF…as you recall, this is the Vatican office where all pedo-priest cases globally were reported to Ratzo and would now be reported to Levada. Who better in that position than Levada? The good Archbishop Levada became an expert at covering-up priests (even a horny bishop, Bishop G. Patrick Zeimann) gone all sexy wild as he headed American dioceses in Oregon and California. With that kind of concealment experience on his resume, why wouldn’t Pope Benny tap him to head the CDF to bury pesky wayward priest cases on a worldwide basis?
I’ve always believed that we should let sleeping dogs lie. Is it so unusual that we do just that? If the ex-Pope Benny said he did nothing to conceal sexual misconduct in the ranks of his clergy, why not let an ex-Pope lie?