Posts Tagged As: Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinals blame press coverage of pedophile priests on gay marriage

Timothy Kincaid

April 7th, 2010

The Catholic Church has come up with a new way to blame their current problems with pedophile priests and institutional cover-ups on the gay community. Yes, they are still blaming the press, but now they’ve assigned the media a new motivation (telegraph):

The head of the Vatican City State’s government, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, also came to the defence of the Pope, condemning what he said was a campaign of “hatred against the Catholic Church.”

Another cardinal, Julian Herranz of Spain, said that the Pope’s opposition to gay marriage and abortion put him at odds with “powerful lobbies (which) would like to impose a completely different” agenda on the Church.

Yep. The only reason why the press cares about the kiddie-diddling priests is because of gay marriage. Un-huh, sure. See if that sells.

Ya know, if these Cardinals had cared about the children who were victims of predatory priests even one tiny fraction as much as they care about the Pope’s reputation, there never would have been a scandal.

Papa Ratzi has a problem

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has a problem.

The molestation of children in their charge by priests is a scandal across all of Christendom. And the Church-wide cover-up of sexual assault by priests has now been traced to include the Pope (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger).

But that is not Il Papa’s problem.

Benedict’s problem isn’t that his buddy and ally used to beat orphan girls. Nor that an abuse hotline set up by Ratzinger’s Catholic Church in Germany crashed because more than 4,000 victims called on the first day. His problem is not even prostitution in the Vatican.

Nor is the Pope’s problem the increasingly bizarre statements of his defenders. It’s not when Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, seeks to change the subject to “a homosexual problem”, nor when Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, speaking at St. Peter’s, compares the criticism received to the holocaust. It’s not even the shockingly casual way in which Easter Sunday’s speech was preceded by a declaration that the whole issue is just “petty gossip of the moment“.

No, the Pope’s problem is the press.

On Saturday, the Vatican’s newspaper kept up its campaign against the media for reports on alleged cover-ups of sexual abuse of children by priests, saying the pope had become the target of a “despicable campaign of defamation.”

Yes, Benedict XVI has properly identified the one thing that could bring down his Papacy and threaten the position and power of the Roman Catholic Church. For perhaps the first time ever, the world’s media is unwilling to be complicit in the cover-up of a centuries-long habit of abuse, self-pampering, and internal preservation of politicians masquerading as men of God.

All of the scandal, the abuse, the hypocrisy, the greed and avarice and gluttony and self-righteousness of the world’s dominant religious institution could be overlooked. All of the cover-ups and shuffling about and secret deals could be kept in the dark. All of it would be unknown and unknowable were it not for newspapers, television, and even bloggers who refuse to let evil call itself good.

Yes, Papa Ratzi has a problem with the press.

NY Times: Pope Benedict Shielded Priest Accused of Molesting 200 Deaf Boys

Jim Burroway

March 24th, 2010

Lawrence C. Murphy, at St. John's School for the Deaf in Wisconsin in 1960.

Lawrence C. Murphy, at St. John's School for the Deaf in Wisconsin in 1960.

This leaves me speechless:

BenedictTop Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit. The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

…The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.

While the documents obtained by the New York Times do not include responses from Ratzinger, the Times did find that all efforts to defrock Murphy came to a halt after Murphy wrote to Ratzinger asking for leniency. Murphy died four months later and was buried in his priestly vestments.

Two thoughts on the Pope’s Pastoral Letter

Timothy Kincaid

March 22nd, 2010

pope eyesPope Benedict XVI has sent a Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics in response to the Church’s crisis over child-molesting priests. It has been fairly universally condemned as inadequate and uncaring. Personally, I find it to be one of the most arrogant and self-serving of all possible responses the Pope could have given. But perhaps I’m biased.

I did, however, note two things I want to note.

First, the Pope writes as though this were a letter to the Southern Baptists, rather than to part of the Catholic family. All condemnations are directed at “you” and “the Church in your country”. It seems to me that this Pope wishes to make clear that he holds neither himself, the Vatican, the hierarchy, nor the political, legal, or pastoral policies of the Church as a whole to have any share in the failings.

It seems that he wishes to portray this tragedy as a singular incident, a failing of the Irish, rather than as a part of what is rapidly becoming a global epidemic.

Second, the Pope seems to want parents to take their share in the blame. He writes:

8. To parents

You have been deeply shocked to learn of the terrible things that took place in what ought to be the safest and most secure environment of all. In today’s world it is not easy to build a home and to bring up children. They deserve to grow up in security, loved and cherished, with a strong sense of their identity and worth. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents. I urge you to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children, both at home and in society as a whole, while the Church, for her part, continues to implement the measures adopted in recent years to protect young people in parish and school environments. As you carry out your vital responsibilities, be assured that I remain close to you and I offer you the support of my prayers.

pope vader
While this, on the surface, appears as sage counsel to live up to our duty to our children, I wonder if His Holiness has considered the meaning of this advice.

The Pope has said that it is the duty of parents to ensure the best possible care for children. Taking this in the context of priest abuse it means, in effect, that parents failed by trusting the Church and her officers.

When the Church said, “bring your children to us for altar duty”, parents failed by listening. When the Church said, “send your children to Catholic boarding school”, parents failed by agreeing. When the Church said, “teach your children to trust God and trust the Church as His representative”, the parents failed by doing precisely that. When the Church said, “you can trust us”, the parents failed by believing.

This Pope seems to be arguing the con-man’s defense: “I may have deceived you, but it’s your fault for believing me”.

Perhaps he’s right.

Pope said to have facilitated child molestation

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

pope eyesPope Benedict XVI is quick to condemn the “intrinsic evil” that comes from committed same-sex partners pledging devotion and care for each other. He finds same-sex attracted persons to be such a threat that he purged them from the seminaries.

Oh, yes. This Pope truly can be said to find gay people to be an enemy of all that is right and decent.

But pedophiles? Not such a problem for him.

The Times Online is reporting

The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The cleric went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria.

To recap, while Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict’s former name) was in charge of the church in Germany Archdiocese of Munich & Freising, Priest H (whose identity is being kept secret) molested an 11 year old boy. The church didn’t report him but instead “rehabilitated” him and sent him to another parish. Where he sexually abused more minors. That would be, AFTER his rehabilitation.

Now the Pope is saying, “Who me?” and laying all the blame on an underling.

The Vatican said that Mgr Gruber had taken “full responsibility” for the priest’s move back into pastoral work but did not comment further.

Mgr Gruber said that the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower-level officials. “The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said. “The repeated employment of H in pastoral duties was a serious mistake … I deeply regret that this decision led to offences against youths. I apologise to all those who were harmed.” He did not indicate whether the convicted paedophile would be allowed to continue working in the church.

Deal with everything? Everything?

What on Earth is of more importance than, “OH MY GOD, we have a priest molesting children!!”

Was the German Catholic Church so full of pedophiles that this was an every-day mundane unimportant administrative matter to be shuffled off? Really? Is that what you want us to believe?

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of Germany’s Catholic bishops, apologised yesterday to the victims of clerical sex abuse after meeting Pope Benedict. He said that the German-born Pope had expressed “great dismay” over the scandals and had encouraged him to take “decisive and courageous steps” to tackle the problem.

Oh no doubt the scandals caused Il Papa great dismay. It’s a pity the molested children never did.


Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2009

From the Telegraph:

A woman in Paris holds condoms with a picture of Pope Benedict XVI. This condoms were released to mock the pope after he rejected condoms as a weapon against AIDS during his African trip

A woman in Paris holds condoms with a picture of Pope Benedict XVI. This condoms were released to mock the pope after he rejected condoms as a weapon against AIDS during his African trip. (AFP/Getty)

Pope Benedict XVI Rehabilitates Holocaust Denier, Anti-Semite and 9-11 Conspiracist

Jim Burroway

January 25th, 2009

With Pope Benedict XVI saying such outrageous things as describing same-sex marriage as an “obstacle on the road to peace,” or opposing the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide — including in countries that carry the death penalty even though the Vatican is itself opposed to the death penalty — it’s hard to imagine him surprising us much. And yet, he manages not merely to surprise, but astonish:

The Pope has lifted the excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church of four bishops appointed by a breakaway archbishop more than 20 years ago. One of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s appointees, Briton Richard Williamson, outraged Jews by saying the Nazi gas chambers did not exist.

Those views were aired in remarks Williamson gave in a Swedish television interview. In a video of Williamson’s remarks to Swedish television, he says:

I believe that the historical evidence — the historical evidence — is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolph Hitler.

I believe there were no gas chambers. Yes. As far as I have studied the evidence. I’m not going by emotion. I’m going by as far as I’ve understood the evidence. I think, for instance, people who are against what is widely believed today about the quote-unquote the Holocaust, I think that people, those people conclude — the revisionists as they’re called — I think the most serious conclude that between two and three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber.

Williamson went on to cite as his “historical evidence” a so-called gas chamber “expert,” Fred Leuchter, who wrote that the remnants of buildings presented as gas chambers couldn’t have been gas chambers. A brief description of Leuchter’s work is available here, including a thorough debunking of his “investigation.” A more thorough debunking is here.

It turns out that Williamson is a fan of a lot of remarkable anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In a September 2002 newsletter, Williamson charges that “Judeo-Masonry is known to have been envisaging three World Wars to achieve its unified global domination”:

By lies, Judeo-Masonry brought about the first two World Wars. To get Americans to enter the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson told them that it would be the “war to end all wars.” In fact, WWI established the Masonic League of Nations in Geneva and the Communist Revolution in Russia, and crushed numerous Christian monarchies, in particular the Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire. And the Masonic Treaty of Versailles ending WWI deliberately paved the way for WWII, of which President F.D. Roosevelt promised it would “make the world safe for democracy.” In fact, WWII established the Masonic United Nations, hugely promoted socialism in the USA and in the Western “democracies,” and crushed the Eastern “democracies” under Communism.

By lies, Judeo-Masonry is preparing for the Third World War. As the Depression of the 1930’s necessitated WWII, triggered for the US by the supposed treachery of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, so we see all the conditions created for another much worse Depression in the US, with the supposed treachery of Arabs last year against the Twin Towers in New York already igniting American public opinion to go to war against Afghanistan and now Iraq. And as we now in 2002 know with certainty that our governments and media told us far from the complete truth in 1941 as to who was truly responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, so we will eventually know that those truly responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers were certainly not those primarily held up as being responsible by our governments and media.

And who is responsible for those Twin Tower attacks? He doesn’t say explicitly, but in another audio clip posted on YouTube, Williamson describes the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as an inside job:

None of you believe that 9-11 is what it was presented to be. It was, of course, the two towers came down, but it was absolutely for certain not two airplanes which brought down those two towers. They were professionally demolished by a series of demolition charges from top to bottom of the towers. …

… [It’s] totally impossible that an airplane struck the Pentagon. A commercial airplane has a very soft nose. You don’t have a nose of titanium and steel. That’s not what an airplane can fly with. If you tried taking off with that, it would nosedive immediately as it lifted off the airport if it had such a heavy nose. The nose of a commercial aircraft is very soft. It’s just a little aluminum covering… the radar of the plane is usually up in the nose. The nose is very soft. Whatever hit the Pentagon punched its way though six of the ten eighteen-inch stone walls between outside the Pentagon and its inner courtyard. There are five rings of buildings, each with an outer and inner wall, and whatever went through the Pentagon went through six of the ten walls before it came to a stop. The photographic evidence is clear as clear can be. The newspapers, of course, did not publish those photographs, but they do exist. Then it can only have been a guided missile which struck the Pentagon.

Williamson’s newsletters are a treasure-trove of paranoia, nutty conspiracies and general all-around lunacy. Williamson argues that women should not wear trousers and that “almost no girl should go to any university” because doing so contributes to the “the unwomaning of woman.” He blames modernism for causing the Rwandan massacre, he describes pluralism as the major threat to the Faith and salvation of Catholics today, and he decries religious liberty as a substitute religion. He has even criticized the movie The Sound of Music because of how it portrays those “nasty Nazis” and elevates “self-centered” romantic love. His views on gay people, engaging in a sin “crying to Heaven for vengeance,” are all too predictable.

A Vatican spokesman tried to distance the Vatican from Williamson’s recently-publicized Holocaust revisionism. He said that the lifting of the excommunication “has nothing to do with the personal opinions of a person, which are open to criticism, but are not pertinent to this decree.”

Bishop Bernard Fellay, who now heads the separatist group founded by Lefebvre, the Society of Saint Pius X, refused to condemn Williamson’s anti-Semitic remarks to Swedish telebision. Instead he tried to shift the blame onto the Swedish interviewer for daring to ask “secular” questions:

“Although it had been understood that the interview would deal with religious issues only, the reporter asked the bishop’s opinion concerning historical matters … It is shameful to use an interview on religious matters to introduce secular and controversial issues with the obvious intention of misrepresenting and maligning the activity of our religious Society. Such [a] vile attempt will not reach its goal.”

Here is the video of Williamson’s remarks to Swedish television:

Click here to read a transcript of Williamson’s remarks to Swedish television

Christmas Rainforests

Timothy Kincaid

December 22nd, 2008

Christmas Week is the time when all of Christendom contemplates the birth of the Christ. Even those of other faiths, or no faiths at all, might spend a moment to reflect on the impact that one person’s birth has had on civilization.

So perhaps it is no wonder that at this time of tradition and reflection on the miracle of Christmas, that most Christian of all men, Pope Benedict XVI, has turned his thoughts to, ummm, rainforests and homosexuality?

The BBC is reporting that the Pope has yet again spoken out against homosexuality and compared protecting humanity from gays and the transgendered to protecting endangered rainforests.

When the Roman Catholic Church defends God’s Creation, “it does not only defend the earth, water and the air… but (it) also protects man from his own destruction,” the pope said.

“If tropical forests deserve our protection, humankind… deserves it no less,” the 81-year-old pontiff said, calling for “an ecology of the human being.”

It is not “outmoded metaphysics” to urge respect for the “nature of the human being as man and woman,” he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican’s sumptuous Clementine Hall.

I’m not saying the man’s obsessed, but it seems that every time you hear from him he has something to say on homosexuality and each seems more extreme than the last.

But with this latest declaration, it sounds almost as if the Pope has declared war on gays. While that is indeed a bit troubling, maybe it should concern Catholics in the modern world far more than it does our community.

The last election showed 36% of Catholic Californians and 49% of Catholic Arizonans willing to buck the church’s official stance on Propositions 8 and 102. And in Europe, Pope was not able to convince a single nation in the EU to refuse signing onto a UN position paper opposing the criminalization of homosexuality.

If the heirarchy of the church continues to become more extreme in its anti-gay positioning, the Church is more likely hurt itself more than the gay community. The Pope runs the risk of seeming to be an intolerant, out-of-touch, and increasingly irrelevant figurehead.

Is Pope Benedict XVI Just Being Ironic?

Jim Burroway

December 11th, 2008

The Catholic Church is not known for its ironic sense of humor. But how else do we read this statement from Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Some 60 years ago, on Dec. 10, the U.N. General Assembly, meeting in Paris, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which still today constitutes a very high point of reference in the intercultural dialogue on liberty and the rights of man. The dignity of every man, really guaranteed only when all his fundamental rights are recognized, protected and promoted. The Church has always confirmed that the fundamental rights, beyond the different formulations and the different weight they might carry in the realm of the different cultures, are a universal fact, because they are inscribed in the very nature of man.

…I support these good wishes with the prayer that God, Father of all men, will enable us to build a world where every human being feels accepted with full dignity, and where relations between individuals and peoples are governed by respect, dialogue and solidarity.”

The Vatican has taken a nonsensical, contradictory position by opposing a U.N. resolution calling for the elimination of anti-homosexuality laws around the world, even though a Vatican spokesman claims they oppose all criminal penalties against homosexuality. The Vatican has staunchly opposed the death penalty while opposing a measure calling on nations to lift the death penalty and other criminal penalties for LGBT people.

And despite all of that, the Pope calls for a world where people are “goverened by respect, dialogue and solidarity.” What solidarity? What respect? What dialogue? I am truly at a loss for words.

I think maybe he’s confused the meaning of Matthew 6:3. He must think it says, “Don’t let your left hand catch what your right hand is doing.

The Pope’s Anti-Marriage Record

Timothy Kincaid

April 15th, 2008

phome_new_en_02.jpgIn conjunction with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, anti-gay marriage activist Maggie Gallagher has compiled a listing of the Pope’s rants in opposition to any efforts to provide civil protections to same-sex families.

A new analysis entitled “Pope Benedict XVI on Marriage: A Compendium” [pdf] and published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy on the eve of Benedict’s historic U.S. visit, finds that in less than three years of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has spoken publicly about marriage on 111 occasions, connecting marriage to such overarching themes as human rights, world peace, and the conversation between faith and reason.

Sadly, rather than revealing an obsession that places opposition to gay equality as more important than scandals within the church, Gallagher sees this as validation of her quest for civil discrimination.

The short pontificate of Benedict XVI is thus already a standing rebuke to those voices of our time who attempt to make us embarrassed about our concern for, and battles over, marriage, family and sexual issues – to those who see in the contemporary marriage debate merely a distraction from more important issues.

But Gallagher is a bright woman. And even she can recognize that Benedict is a bit extreme.

Marriage essential to world peace? This may strike American ears as an oddity.

Ummm, yeah. Ya think?

Pope Draws Distinction Between Homosexuality and Pedophilia

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2008

The New York Times reports this morning on comments Pope Benedict XVI made with reporters during his flight to the United States. He talked about the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has affected more than 5,000 victims and cost the church more than $2 billion. He described the scandals as a “great suffering for the church” and for him personally, saying “We are deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible that this cannot happen in the future.”

During the discussion, the pontiff indicated that he recognized the distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia:

Apparently drawing a distinction between priests with homosexual tendencies and those inclined to molest children, the Pontiff said “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

This would be welcome news, but the rest of the church appears not to have gotten the memo. In response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2005 issued instructions barring gay men entering holy orders unless they had “overcome” for at least three years. This led to a virtual witch hunt within many seminaries, while priests faced increasing stigmatization within their dioceses. Meanwhile, abuse victim advocates accuse the pope of protecting nineteen bishops who they say have been “credibly accused of abusing children.”

You can learn more about the fals link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays a Threat To Our Children?”

Benedict XVI: Gay Marriage “Obstacle On the Road to Peace”

Jim Burroway

December 12th, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has issued his Message for the Celebration of World Peace Day, titled “The Human Family, A Community of Peace.” In this traditional January 1 message (issued in advance of 2008), he discusses “the one human family’s” importance for world peace:

6. The social community, if it is to live in peace, is also called to draw inspiration from the values on which the family community is based. This is as true for local communities as it is for national communities; it is also true for the international community itself, for the human family which dwells in that common house which is the earth. [All emphasis in the original]

There is so much to appreciate in this statement:

  • A call for people to treat each other as family (“We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters.”),
  • responsible stewardship of the earth’s energy resources and the environment (“sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balance”),
  • the “prudent use of resources and an equitable distribution of wealth,”
  • laws “which would foster true freedom rather than blind caprice, and protect the weak from oppression by the strong,”
  • concerns over wars and conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and continuing arms races in countries all over the world.

In many ways, it is a beautiful and well-considered document. It’s the sort of document I often appreciated during my Catholic days. Except this time, there’s this that’s buried in the text:

…[E]verything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.

If I were in a flippant mood, I might say that he’s not talking about same-sex marriage because the ability for gays and lesbians to enter into marriages does nothing to weaken anyone else’s family. But of course we all know better; we know exactly what he’s talking about.

Arms races, Conflicting economic interests, dwindling resources, not being able to see each other as brothers and sisters in the “one human family” — these are all serious impediments to world peace, no question about it. And framing these conflicts as disruptions inside the human family is a useful way of looking at things.

But gay marriage? An objective obstacle on the road to peace?

I think Benedict missed another important obstacle to peace: efforts by some world leaders to scapegoat a few members of that one human family for the problems suffered by other members of that family. I’m sure it’s just an oversight. Maybe he’ll pick up that theme for 2009.

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