Posts Tagged As: Pope Benedict XVI

Ex-Pope Benedict Took On The Gay Lobby And Won, Says Ex-Pope Benedict

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2016

PopesRedShoesWe haven’t had a living ex-pope who became ex-pope of his own volition in more than 700 years, and we haven’t had an ex-pope’s post-poping memoirs in, like a kajillion. But we’ll have that soon. The Pope Formerly Known As Benedict XVI is due to publish his memoir, The Last Conversation, on September 9. The Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera has the Italian newspaper rights for the book’s excerpts, and today ran a long article which, according to Reuters, discusses Benedict’s exploits against a “gay lobby” in the Vatican:

In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a “gay lobby” made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to “break up this power group”.

…The Church has maintained its centuries-long opposition to homosexual acts.

But rights campaigners have long said many gay people work for the Vatican and Church sources have said they suspect that some have banded together to support each other’s careers and influence decisions in the bureaucracy.

Benedict, who now has the title “emeritus pope,” has always maintained that he made his choice to leave freely and Corriere says that in the book Benedict “again denies blackmail or pressure”.

His Prada shoes declined to comment for this story.

Pope Benedict much too criminal to travel

Timothy Kincaid

February 19th, 2013

When Pope Benendict resigned, Cardinal O’Malley lamented that “the demands of extensive international travel, played a central role in his decision”.

And he’s undoubtedly right. Though the “demands” are perhaps a bit different from what the Church would have us believe. His fear is likely less about falling and breaking a hip than it is facing increasing international condemnation.

The internet got a moment of excitement yesterday when something calling itself “the International Tribunal into Crimes Against Church and State” declared that it has issued a summons for Joseph Ratziger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, to appear before it and answer for his crimes against humanity. But they have roughly the same authority that I have, so that’s worth little more than histrionic denouncements from a soap box. What they did say, however, that was of interest was this:

On Friday, February 1, 2013, on the basis of evidence supplied by our affiliated Common Law Court of Justice (, our Office concluded an agreement with representatives of a European nation and its courts to secure an arrest warrant against Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict, for crimes against humanity and ordering a criminal conspiracy.

I highly doubt that they have an agreement with any nation for Ratzinger to be arrested and brought to them for judgment. They also declare that “Common Law peace officers [aka people without any legal authority] working for our de jure Court and Tribunal will apprehend [aka kidnap]” the Pope and drag him there in chains and that this Easter they will seize the assets of the Church. Cue the circus music.

But what I do think is possible is that some nation soon will, under their own laws, issue an arrest warrant for Ratzinger based on his involvement in the global cover-up of child molestation by Catholic Priests. As more documents are being demanded – and produced – it is becoming increasingly clear that before ascending to the Papal See, Ratzinger was individually responsible for keeping authorities unaware of abuse and for using international law to hide and protect priests who engaged in the most horrific abuse of trust. And even more likely is that a nation will refuse entry to a known criminal.

As head of state of the Vatican, Benedict would have diplomatic immunity. But the embarrassment would be seriously detrimental to the Church’s continued influence. And even if the Pope were to have continued in his position, he would have been forced to limit his travels to the extent that he would be a virtual prisoner in the Vatican. Reuters suggests that this is probably his fate in any case.

Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

And, indeed, if he does leave the compound, his life will increasingly be less dignified. Though it’s unlikely he’ll ever be arrested for his crimes, fewer political leaders will wish to be gracious to a man whom they know chose with full knowledge to turn the young children entrusted to his Church’s care over to pedophile rapists.

Yes, his criminal past has made it impossible for him to meet the demands of extensive international travel.

Pope Benedict XVI Announces Resignation

Jim Burroway

February 11th, 2013

For the first time since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII announced he would step down to allow fresh elections to put an end to the Great Western Schism, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation effective February 28:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

There’s a great deal of speculation as to who the next pope would be. Some suggest that New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan might become the first American Pope. Given various geopolitical realities — and the fact that the American Catholic Church is something of a rather small runt in global Catholicism — I find such speculation unconvincing. Which means I could very easily be wrong.

Pope Benedict XVI has been an anti-gay crusader of long standing. In a 2007 message for World Peace Day, in which the  Pope had a whole range of worldly ills which stand as a barrier to peace, he singled out gay marriage as “an objective obstacle on the road to peace.” This, while the Vatican opposed a UN resolution on decriminalization of homosexuality and the removal of the death penalty for those countries which impose it. While the Vatican is credited for exerting its influence against Uganda’s Anti-Homosxuality Bill in 2010, the Pope last December met with Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the bill’s supporter, while she was in Italy for, ironically, a human rights conference.

In 2010, the pedophile scandal reached the Pope himself when it was revealed that as Archbishop in Bavaria, he had facilitated the repeated employment of at least one pedophile priest for pastoral assignments. It was also revealed that while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger made no moves to defrock an American priest who had molested some 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin, and that he was directly involved in a cover-up of a sexual predator priest in California.

Pope Benedict XVI: Merry Christmas, and Gays Cause Families To “Vanish”

Jim Burroway

December 21st, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI used the occasion of an address to the Curia to wish them Merry Christmas and gays!

“There is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the Western world,” the pope said, adding it had to be protected because it is “the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence”.

The 85-year-old pope, speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, said the family was being threatened by “a false understanding of freedom” and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage.

“When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholic said.

The pope approvingly cited a paper — Reuters calls it a “study” — by France’s chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim:

Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society”.

His study, “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say”, argues that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.

O Holy Night, the Gays are Ruining Christmas

Timothy Kincaid

December 14th, 2012

On Christmas Eve every year a friend and I go to the same steakhouse for dinner, an old studio hangout with huge steaks and perfect cosmopolitans. A Christmas tree holds place of honor, the pictures on the walls are wrapped like presents, and tables are packed with three or four generations celebrating the holiday.

Sometimes it’s just us and one or two others, sometimes it’s a dozen or more. But one Christmas our crowd was large and one invitee was a rather loud and obnoxious person who we later realized was best not included.

Things like slashed tires and sugar in the gas tank tended to happen to those with whom he disagreed or who he thought had slighted him. But this Christmas Eve we were blissfully unaware. Until he started making comments that were inappropriate in public.

Anywhere. But especially in a family restaurant where there were kids.

Also there, was an equally loud and colorful friend who wasn’t having it. He decided to inform our boisterous friend that he was being inappropriate and should watch what he was saying. They bickered back and forth until the obnoxious one got in the other one’s face, shoved him in the chest, and screamed, “YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!” before storming out of the restaurant.

It was this event that came to my mind when I read about the Pope’s message of hope and peace this Christmas. In a ceremony for lighting the Vatican Christmas tree as part of the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, His Holiness’ thoughts turned to gays. Of course. (FoxNews)

In comments to a delegation from Italy’s south-central Molise region, which donated the Vatican’s main Christmas tree this year, Benedict said the tree lights that were being turned on at a ceremony early Friday evening represented “divine light.”

“And when in the past they tried to stamp out the light of God to instead turn on illusory and misleading glows, there were seasons of tragic violence against man,” he said.

The Vatican on Friday released the pope’s peace message, in which he called for policymakers to think of themselves as peacemakers in economic and social policy. He warned that abortion and gay marriage were threats to peace.

Laws granting legal status for gay unions, he said, “actually harm and help destabilize marriage” by obscuring its specific nature as a union between man and woman that forms the basis of society.

Now I’m not suggesting that the Pope would put sugar in your gas tank. But he would deny you love in your life. He would take away your rights to civil equality.

And at this time when mankind is reminded of the goals of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, the Pope cannot help but think of you. Because, to the Pope, “YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!”

(and, if you’re wondering, this year we will be just six – none of whom are loud)

Uganda Parliament To Adjourn Until February

Jim Burroway

December 14th, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (via the Uganda Parliament web site.)

The Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament is expected to Adjourn today without bringing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill up for debate. According to Warren Throckmorton, who spoke with a Parliament spokeswoman, Parliament will begin its Christmas break after today’s sitting and will return on February 4. There had been some speculation that Parliament may extend is session through next week, but with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga off galavanting in Italy meeting the Pope and attending a human rights conference — I kid you not — it looks like the prevailing opinion is that the earlier they can start their Christmas break, the better.

Which is just as well, because if today’s Order Paper is any indication (DOC: 41KB/2 pages), Parliament’s eagerness to take up the Anti-Homosexuality Bill appears to be waning. It has now fallen to number seven under “Notice of Business to Follow,” following some fairly mundane committee reports, after having held the top spot just two weeks ago.

Lady Gaga v. Papa Ratzi

Timothy Kincaid

September 24th, 2012

Joseph Ratzinger (you may know him as Pope Benedict XVI) was in France this weekend to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ lobby against the human rights of French gays. (Parisdespaches translated by Google)

“The family is threatened by a conception of human nature that is defective (…) defend the family and life in society is nothing but retrograde prophetic” Benedict XVI stated in particular at this meeting , before recalling that “marriage and family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact caused injury to the society itself.”

You know, the usual “gay marriage will destroy society itself” routine.

Meanwhile just your little ol’ average Catholic girl, Stefani Germanotta (you may know her as Lady Gaga) was asked her opinion on the matter. (Pinknews)

Speaking slowly to allow a simultaneous translator to keep up with her, Lady Gaga today told Europe 1 radio: “I think that gay marriage is going to happen. It must. We are not actually equal — humanity — if we are not allowed to freely love one another.”

After being asked on the Pope’s recent comments, Lady Gaga said: “What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. … It is not a reflection of all religious people.”

That’s actually a pretty smart response. In a nation that is at least nominally Catholic, coming from someone raised Catholic, it’s a reminder that he may have a title but when it comes down to it, this is just some guy and his views only matter if you like or respect him or think he speaks for God.

Papa Ratzi’s extreme homophobia still surprises me

Timothy Kincaid

August 6th, 2012

Pope Benedict the Evil has demonstrated that he is obsessed with homosexuality. He has made the Church’s opposition to civil rights, freedoms and equality for gay people the hallmark of his term as the Supreme Pontiff.

Traipsing about seeking sedition in modern European nations over marriage equality and imposing harsh autocrats upon liberal bishoprics seem heavy handed in an increasingly secular world. But I am, frankly, surprised at the blatancy of Papa Ratzi’s latest insult.

Bulgaria is an eastern European nation about the size and population of Tennessee. Most of the country is (at least nominally) Bulgarian Orthodox, with about 60,000 Roman Catholics (less than 1% of the population). But the Pope is certainly not going to let the minimal nature of his influence in Bulgaria influence his civility towards Bulgarians, Catholic or otherwise.

Kiril Maritchkov, Jr., son of a popular Bulgarian rock musician and the grandson of the ambassador to the Vatican during the 90’s, would seem like an ideal candidate for serving that nation in it’s diplomatic relations with the Holy City. But oh no, not when you’re dealing with Benedict. Because some things are just more important than good relations with a nation in which you have but a token presence. Such as the mere mention of “a homosexual act” in a fictional novel. (

Kiril Maritchov’ Jr.s rejection in May is ”punishment” for the scene written by the married father of two work in his 2005 book “The Fugitive’s Road” which topped the best-selling lists in his home country, the daily said, without revealing where it got the information.

The Fugitive’s Road deals with immigration from Eastern Europe to Italy and includes a scene dealing with a male character paying another man for sex.

Maritchov wasn’t tossing out gay porn. In fact, his character confesses all his sins to God and pleads for his eternal compassion at the end of the book. But that is irrelevant. He mentioned a “homosexual act” and that will get you banned from Benedict’s court.

UPDATE: The Irish Times gives better information about the novel:

In his book, Clandestination, he tells the story of Ivan, a young east-European graduate in architecture, who comes to Italy, enticed by false work promises.

In a manner that accurately reflects the experience of many clandestini (clandestine immigrants, hence the book’s title), it all falls apart for Ivan in Italy.

At one point, he is so short of money that he prostitutes himself for €50 to a man he encounters casually at Valle Giulia, central Rome.

The Pope holds you in contempt

Timothy Kincaid

July 27th, 2012

Pope Benedict the Evil holds you in contempt.

Really, that’s the only explanation. When someone take a step to insult you, exclude you, and show you just how little they value you, it must be out of contempt.

bishop salSan Francisco is known world wide as a city that is not only disproportionately gay in population but also deeply supportive of gay rights. A Pope with a sense of respect for Catholics in the City would have appointed an Archbishop that had a history of compassion for gay people and who could be perceived if not as an ally, at least as being non-antagonistic.

This Pope took a different approach. He appointed the single most anti-gay Catholic in the Country, Father Salvatore Cordileone, the author of Proposition 8. Truly a bigger insult to San Francisco’s Catholics could not be imagined.

While no doubt anti-gays within the church rejoiced, they may want to note that their rejoicing is echoing louder in increasingly empty cathedrals around the world.

Brazilian activist takes on the Pope

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

“Die Juden sind unser Unglück!”

This phrase, “The Jews are our Misfortune”, attributed to nationalist German historian Heinrich von Treitschke, became a motto of Der Stürmer, a Nazi publication. But the seeds planted by von Treitshke, though planted in a fertile ground of existing anti-Semetic hostility, didn’t bloom until long after his 1879 declaration (incidentally, three years after my German Jewish ancestors decided to find a new life in California).

Brazilian politician and activist Jean Wyllys sees parallels between von Treitscke’s demonization of German Jews and the Pope’s declaration that gay marriages threaten “the future of humanity itself”: (Ocio Gay)

Benedicto XVI no puede continuar difundiendo el odio y el prejuicio contra los gays. No puede decir que nosotros, sólo por amar, sólo por reclamar que nuestro amor sea respetado y reconocido, somos “una amenaza”. Por otra parte, porque ese tipo de frases tiene una historia. “¡Los judíos son nuestra desgracia!” (“Die Juden sind unser Unglück!”), dijo el historiador Heinrich von Treitschke, y esa desgraciada expresión, publicada en la revista alemana Der Sturmer y luego usada como lema por los nazis, terminó en lo que terminó. Los homosexuales también lo sabemos: nuestro destino en la Alemania nazi, donde Benedicto XVI pasó su juventud, era el mismo de los judíos, sólo que en vez de la estrella de David, lo que nos identificaba en los campos de concentración era el triángulo rosa. La tragedia del nazismo debería haber servido para aprender que el otro, el diferente, no es una amenaza, ni una desgracia, ni el enemigo. Y nosotros, los homosexuales, no amenazamos a nadie. Nuestro amor es tan bello y saludable como el de cualquiera. Y merecemos el mismo respeto y los mismos derechos que cualquiera.

De la misma manera que sucede ahora con el “matrimonio gay”, el matrimonio entre blancos y negros —llamado, en la época, “matrimonio interracial”— ya fue considerado “antinatural y contrario a la ley de Dios” y una amenaza contra la civilización. En una sentencia de 1966, un tribunal de Virginia que convalidó su prohibición usó estas palabras: “Dios Todopoderoso creó a la razas blanca, negra, amarilla, malaya y roja y las colocó en continentes separados. El hecho de que Él las haya separado demuestra que Él no tenía la intención de que las razas se mezclaran”. El matrimonio entre alemanes “de raza aria” y judíos también fue prohibido por Hitler. Hasta los evangélicos tuvieron el derecho al matrimonio negado en muchos países durante mucho tiempo, porque eran, también, una amenaza —para la Iglesia católica. Parece que algunos pastores no se acuerdan, pero fue así.

Google translation:

Benedict can not continue spreading hatred and prejudice against gays. You can not say that we only love, only to claim that our love is respected and recognized, are “a threat.” Moreover, because such words have a history. “The Jews are our misfortune!” (“Die Juden sind unser Unglück!”), The historian Heinrich von Treitschke, and that unfortunate expression, published in the German magazine Der Sturmer and then used as a slogan by the Nazis, ended in it ended. Homosexuals know: our fate in Nazi Germany, where Benedict XVI spent his youth, was the same as the Jews, only instead of the Star of David, which we identified in the concentration camps was the pink triangle . The tragedy of Nazism should have served to learn than the other, the different, not a threat, not a misfortune, not the enemy. And we, the homosexuals, not threaten anyone. Our love is so beautiful and healthy as anyone. And we deserve the same respect and rights as anyone else.

In the same way as happens now with the “gay marriage”, marriage between whites and blacks, called at the time, “interracial marriage” – and was considered “unnatural and contrary to the law of God” and a threat civilization. In a 1966 ruling of a court in Virginia upheld its ban used these words: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red and placed them on separate continents. The fact that he has separated the shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. ” The marriage of German “Aryan race” and was also banned Jews from Hitler. Even the evangelicals were denied the right to marriage in many countries for a long time, they were also a threat, the Catholic Church. It seems that some pastors do not remember, but it was so.

Oh, the humanity

Timothy Kincaid

January 9th, 2012

Pope Benedict has started out the new year with one of his favorite themes: the superhuman power of gay couples to destroy all of civilization.

“This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” he said.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that some of the things that Sen. Rick Santorum says sound downright idiotic. When the leader of your church predicates the survival of the human species on denying gay couples legal recognition, any nutcase theory can sound plausible. And he is, after all, under the watchful eyes of Papa Ratzi.

Papa Ratzi protested in London

Timothy Kincaid

September 20th, 2010

When Pope Benedict XVI (nee Cardinal Ratzinger) visited Britain this weekend, the response was not uniformly adulatory. In addition to adoring Catholics, Papa Ratzi also drew a large protest.

With a crowd of around 11,000 for Saturday’s protest, the protest drew upon a wide base of discontent with the current pontiff. (Telegraph)

Among the marchers were a wide range of groups, including gay and lesbian Catholics, child abuse survivors, atheists and anti poverty campaigners. Organisers said the turnout was five times greater than expected.

Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, criticised the Pope for obstructing police investigations into paedophile priests.

He said: “The Pope’s apologies do not ring true. Even today he is refusing to hand over Vatican files he holds under lock and key. Priests who sexually abused children should be brought to justice and the church should do its bit.”

Calu Lema, a Columbian-born graphic designer who works in London, said that, as “a tax paying lesbian”, she opposed the state visit.

She said: “The Pope has a right to come here and people have a right to come and hear him.

“But why should I, as a lesbian taxpayer, pay for his state visit when he is opposed to women’s rights to contraception, opposed to gays and gay marriage and opposed to human rights?

“I respect the rights of Catholics to their faith, but they should respect my rights.”

Of course others were supportive of the Pope.

“We’ve also seen his warmth with people, such as the children he’s picked up and kissed. That’s changed people’s view of the Pope.”

Ummm… ewwww

Dear insidious and dangerous threat to the common good,

Timothy Kincaid

May 13th, 2010

The Pope isn’t so fond of you.

His Holiness is in Portugal to observe the 93rd anniversary of the Virgin Mary appearing to poor shepherd children in Fatima. And he’s using this opportunity to rail at the Portuguese for allowing civil marriages to include those of which his church disapproves. (NYTimes)

In a speech here to Catholic social service groups, Benedict called for initiatives aimed at protecting “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”

This was addressed not only at same-sex marriage, but Papa Razti was also objecting to recent divorce laws.

But purely from a pragmatic perspective, it might do the Pope more benefit to focus on people’s spiritual condition rather than the extent to which European nations allow him to have veto power over their laws. His political campaign isn’t working out so well.

Although it is 90 percent Catholic, Portugal has seen a notable shift away from Catholic teaching in recent years. The country legalized abortion in 2008 and its Parliament recently approved a bill permitting same-sex marriage. President Aníbal Cavaco Silva is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming weeks.

The Church has opposed the measure, but Portuguese society appears to be largely supportive of it. Portugal would be the sixth country in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway and Sweden.

Papa Ratzi to meet victims of pedophile priests this weekend

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2010

Is there anywhere on God’s Green Earth that Catholic priests haven’t molested kids? Anywhere?

From the Times Online

The Pope is ready to meet victims of clerical sex abuse when he visits Malta at the weekend, but only if the encounter is conducted in a “calm and discreet” atmosphere rather than under the media spotlight, his spokesman said today.

The diocesan authorities in Malta said this week that of 45 child abuse allegations against priests on the island, 19 were found to have no basis but 13 were going ahead and another 13 cases were “pending”.

At a press conference on Monday eleven former victims of abuse by priests on Malta, led by Lawrence Grech, 37, who claims that he was abused regularly at an orphanage at Santa Venera, asked to meet the Pope “for a few minutes to help us heal and to overcome this trauma”.

Really? Santa Venera, Malta?

I mean c’mon. The island nation of Malta is about the same size as Oakland, CA and Santa Venera has about 6,000 residents. But I guess that’s big enough for at least one pedopriest.

Pope Directly Involved In Sex Abuse Coverup

Jim Burroway

April 9th, 2010

[Update: Copies of relevant letters have been posted online here.]

At what point should American prosecutors consider filing racketeering charges against senior American and Vatican officials of the Roman Catholic Church? We now have evidence that the current head of the Church was directly and personally involved in a conspiracy to conceal criminal sexual exploitation in the United States. The Associated Press has found the smoking gun:

The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

…The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the Diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle.

[Updates: the full text of the letter is available here. Fourteen other letters written by priests concerning Kiesle’s conduct are available here.]

Kiesle had been accused of tying up two young boys and molesting them in a San Francisco-area church rectory, for which he got off with an unbelievable slap on the wrist of three years probation in 1978. When his probation ended in 1981, Kiesle asked to leave the priesthood and the diocese submitted papers to Rome to defrock him. Oakland’s then bishop John Cummins wrote to Ratzinger in 1982, saying “It is my conviction that there would be no scandal if this petition were granted and that as a matter of fact, given the nature of the case, there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry.” Ratzinger’s response?

In the November 1985 letter, Ratzinger says the arguments for removing Kiesle are of “grave significance” but added that such actions required very careful review and more time. He also urged the bishop to provide Kiesle with “as much paternal care as possible” while awaiting the decision, according to a translation for AP by Professor Thomas Habinek, chairman of the University of Southern California Classics Department.

But the future pope also noted that any decision to defrock Kiesle must take 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.” Kiesle was 38 at the time.

Stephen Kiesel in 2002, after having been arrested for molesting three girls thrity years earlier.

Stephen Kiesel in 2002, after having been arrested for molesting three girls thirty years earlier.

Kiesle had just been ordained in 1972, which means that he must have been tying up and molesting children right out of the gate. This article from 2002 indicates that he had been accused of molesting girls “thirty years ago.” It also gives you an idea about how notorious this guy was. Police suspected he was responsible for the abduction of Amber Swartz-Garcia in 1998 from her Pinole, CA home, as well as the abductions of three other missing girls. Police searched the home Kiesle shared with his wife in Truckee, but found no evidence in that case. (Another convicted felon later confessed to Amber’s killing.)

That same year however, he was arrested and charged with thirteen counts of molestation after three women came forward to accuse him of abusing them while serving in a parish in Fremont in the 1970s. This appears to have been the “thirty years ago” allegations mentioned earlier. All but two of those charges were thrown out after the US Supreme Court found California’s law extending the statute of limitations unconstitutional, but I haven’t been able to find out what happened with the remaining two charges. In 2003, he and the diocese were sued by seven women who said they were abused at St. Paula’s church in during the 1970s.  He was sentenced in 2004 to six years in state prison after pleading no contest to molesting a young girl in 1995 at his Truckee home.

But the well-founded fear that Kiesel would go on molesting more children wasn’t Ratzinger’s greatest concern, it was the fear of bad publicity that led to him arguing for further delay after already delaying for three years. This, despite Kiesle asking to be defrocked, and his bishop all but begging that Ratzinger laicize him, saying that Kiesle would be a threat to children if he remained in the priesthood.

But Cummins isn’t exactly the hero in all of this. While he was warning Ratzinger that Kiesle was a danger to children, what did he do?

As Kiesle’s fate was being weighed in Rome, the priest returned to suburban Pinole to volunteer as a youth minister at St. Joseph Church, where he had served as associate pastor from 1972 to 1975. [Emphasis mine]

And it gets worse.

Kiesle continued to volunteer with children, according to Maurine Behrend, who worked in the Oakland diocese’s youth ministry office in the 1980s. After learning of his history, Behrend complained to church officials. When nothing was done she wrote a letter, which she showed to the AP.

“Obviously nothing has been done after EIGHT months of repeated notifications,” she wrote. “How are we supposed to have confidence in the system when nothing is done? A simple phone call to the pastor from the bishop is all it would take.”

She eventually confronted Cummins at a confirmation and Kiesle was gone a short time later, Behrend said.

[Update: Behrend’s 1988 letter complaining about Keisle’s working with youth is available online here.]

Kiesle was no longer a priest by 1987, although documents reviewed by the AP don’t show how, when or why he was laicized. The AP has constructed a complete timeline of the Kiesle case. Another timeline is available at

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Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
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At last, the truth can now be told.

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