Investigation Required

At least, that's my opinion. I imagine it'll be given all due consideration by the Vatican, which will either regretfully discover there isn't enough information for action, or will bury the incident in committees and crocodilic apologies (made of the same stuff as crocodile tears).

(Trigger warning - slightly graphic discussion of pedophilia below the Open Wide)

Shaker Bald Soprano sent me a link to this Suddeutsche Zeitung article, (South German Times, a large and reputable media source in Germany) which, yes, is in German.

In short, the allegation is that while serving as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in the early 80s, the current sitting Pope was part of a council which approved the transfer of a convicted pedophile priest from Essen into his bishopric to a new community-work position - in which position that priest reoffended.

There is testimony from a then-eleven-year-old chorister that he'd been forced to provide oral sex to the transferred priest. This is a separate allegation from that of the Regensburg choristers against the Pope's brother, Georg Ratzinger, this one being directly laid at the Pope's door, while he was the Archbishop of Munich. The Vicar-General of Munich took responsibility for the transfer, but this may well be seen as the "falling-on-the-sword" for the one who had overall responsibility for the spiritual and moral health of his congregation: the Archbishop himself.

Addressing a conference of German bishops on Friday, the Pope referred to the abuse scandal now blooming in Germany against the Catholic Church, saying he was deeply upset by the revelations, and fully supported the bishops in their actions (or as we might see it, inactions) in response.

Let's be clear here: this isn't the entire church. Many Catholic clergy serve with great dedication in many parts of the world where others don't give a damn: in Latin America and in Africa, particularly. And while I'd rather they did so without the indoctrination, it cannot be denied there are many great teaspoons lifted by Catholic clergy.

Unfortunately, the upper leadership of the church, the political people who end up in bishoprics and the Vatican - because let us not forget, the Vatican is a political state in the world, and has been for centuries - has shown itself to have the same reaction to distressing news as any other conventional power-holding group: delay the press, destroy evidence, dither fitfully, and finally deny absolutely.

These men - and yes, oddly*, they're all men, and just about every one white, who knew? - have become deeply corrupted by their power. They do a daily disservice to those literally hundreds of millions of faithful Catholics, to the untold thousands of dedicated clergy, and to the good name generated by their good works, by their inaction towards, and denial of, the systemic problem of child abuse by a part of the clergy.

If they want to restore that good name, they will need to take on the moral courage of a fellow they're supposed to have a good deal of respect for (I think his name started with J?), and deal with the problem head-on. Recognize there is some rot in their clergy, in their system, and clean it out, unstintingly.

Ironic, I think, that I will close this with the imprecation so often hurled at queer folk like myself by the church, in keeping us out of mainstream society:

Won't someone please think of the children?

* For some value of "oddly".

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