• Germany edition
 
Priest says he was bullied into taking fall for Pope in abuse scandal
Protected - Pope XVI. Photo: DPA

Priest says he was bullied into taking fall for Pope in abuse scandal

Published: 18 Apr 2010 10:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Apr 2010 10:18 GMT+02:00

Gerhard Gruber was Joseph Ratzinger’s general vicar in Munich during the 1980s, when Ratzinger, now Pope, was Archbishop.

Ratzinger chaired the meeting which decided to offer paedophile priest Peter H., a safe haven in Munich. The priest was also given further positions of trust in the church, and was later convicted of further child abuse.

Gruber’s friends have told Der Spiegel news magazine that when the story came to light last month, he was under immense pressure to take responsibility for the decision in order to shield the Pope from accusations of having helped a paedophile.

The magazine wrote that he was urgently "requested" to take full responsibility in order to take the Pope "out of the firing line."

He wrote in a letter to a friend that he had been faxed a statement that he was to make, though he had been given the opportunity to suggest changes.

Gruber issued a statement in March which said, “The repeated employment of H. in priestly spiritual duties was a bad mistake. I assume all responsibility.”

The implication from the bishopric that Gruber had acted alone in offering help to the paedophile priest, and not turned him over to the police, has greatly upset him, the magazine wrote.

The Catholic church’s handling of repeated child abuse allegations in Germany and beyond has prompted repeated calls for bishops to resign for either not reporting claims to secular authorities, or for making light of charges made by victims.

The latest bishop under such pressure is Heinrich Mussinghoff, bishop of Aachen, whose handling of an abuse claim has been heavily criticised by a child protection group.

The Initiative Against Violence and Sexual Abuse of Children and Youths accuses Mussinghoff of ignoring claims made this January by a 19-year-old man that he was sexually abused as a child by the bishopric’s head of personnel.

Nothing has been done about the man’s claims, the initiative’s spokesman Johannes Heibel said.

“Those responsible should resign because the church has not met its own promises, despite a months-long debate over sexual abuse,” he said.

The accused priest, named only as Georg K., is said to have regularly abused the man and others, even making videos and photos of the abuse. The man’s family has not yet been contacted by anyone from the bishopric, having made the claims.

When Der Spiegel contacted the bishopric for a comment, it was told, “The boy should have contacted us, not us him.”

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

11:28 April 18, 2010 by Prufrock2010
This is going to unravel like Watergate. Unlike Watergate, the coverup here isn't worse than the despicable crimes, but damn near. This, I predict, is the beginning of the end for Ratzinger.
18:05 April 18, 2010 by wood artist
For those few old enough to remember the Watergate days, this almost sounds like John Dean, the man who was brave enough to tell the truth, the man who was publicly ripped apart by the President's cabel, and the man who ultimately was proven to be completely honest and truthful.

In the words of the good Senator from the time...."What did the Pope know, and when did he know it?"

wa
03:08 April 19, 2010 by pmach
This is hardly Watergate. The Pope will survive this and so will the church after all this is just the tip of the iceberg and not just for the Catholic Church but for many so called trusted institutions. It just goes to show you how many sick people there are in the world and they are every where. People have short memories and even shorter attention spans and this is already getting tired.
05:14 April 19, 2010 by zontar
Pmach seems to think that this is simply a matter of "a few bad apples". It's not. This is a systemic problem. The "bad apples" were recognized, and then, instead of being removed, the farmer shifted them quietly to other baskets. Had the farmer simply thrown them out, then one could say it's just a a few bad apples, and the orchard can go on as always.

This is far from being over. The rot goes all the way to the top--that much is crystal clear to any impartial observer.

If there is any justice in the world, the pope will be arrested (like anyone else who covers up child rape) in England during his Fall visit.
06:41 April 19, 2010 by pmach
Hardly zontar its epidemic in proportion. I am not talking about the bad apples here either. What I am saying is this is hardly isolated and when it comes to pointing fingers at the Catholic Church when and if they feel threatened I would bet your life that they have enough evidence and history to set the world on fire if ever there empire is threatened. You would have to be pretty niave to think that one of the most powerfull institutuions in the world would ever allow its fall without pulling out all stops. This is not about the Pope but the entire administration and past Popes all guilty along with Benedict...do you think that John Paul was unaware, I think not.

They may get battered and bruised but it will be a long day in hell before they fall to this. What I am hearing hear is much like I hear from the best traders in the world who cant understand why the markets go up when all indicators point down, debt spirals out of control, bond markets are on the verge of collapse not to mention the derivative markets yet to fall however all is well in lala land as along as the market goes up the sheeple feel secure in that tomorrow will be like today. The Pope's rain will go on and up despite all who believe otherwise because thats the way it is and the way it will be. You can hope but you can and will be disappointed in the end.

You cant fight the market and you cant fight the Church. This will blow over or another bigger story will devert the masses away from this some how in the very near future.
10:39 April 19, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ pmach:

I agree with you that the masses are stupid enough to forget about this as soon as another scandal du jour comes along, but some of us are dedicated to ensuring that the issue doesn't blow over until it is fully resolved.

I am curious about your contention that "if they [the Church] feel threatened I would bet your life that they have enough evidence and history to set the world on fire if ever there empire is threatened." What do you mean by that? The Holy Roman Empire is a thing of the past. The church is irrelevant in today's world, other than as a money-sucking mechanism preying on the ignorant and gullible. How is the church going to "set the world on fire?"

Maybe you can't fight the market, as you say, but you sure as hell can regulate it. You can also regulate the church to bring it into conformity with civil and criminal law. The "too big to fail" argument won't work with this criminal organization.
Today's headlines
German squad leaves out one-legged long jumper
Markus Rehm. Photo: DPA

German squad leaves out one-legged long jumper

German athletics officials said on Wednesday they would not nominate the country's long jump champion Markus Rehm for the European championships because of fears his prosthetic leg gives him an unfair advantage. READ  

Second man arrested after synagogue attack
The synagogue on Tuesday after the attack. Photo: DPA

Second man arrested after synagogue attack

Police arrested a second suspect on Wednesday in connection with an attempted arson attack in which Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in western Germany. Another man who said he was Palestinian has denied involvement. READ  

German women fall short of equality
Still a man's world: women in Germany find it hard to rise as high as Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: DPA

German women fall short of equality

Women in Germany are still underrepresented in leadership jobs and among professors, a new government report said on Wednesday. They are also paid less and remain unlikely to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics. READ  

The Local List
Five reasons to visit (and to avoid) Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA

Five reasons to visit (and to avoid) Oktoberfest

With just over 50 days to go until Munich's Oktoberfest starts, it is time to book your train/plane/horse to the world’s biggest beer festival. Or is it? The Local List looks at five reasons you should be making that trip, and five why you'd better steer clear. READ  

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Photo: DPA

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is among the club's staff and players who could not join a week-long tour to the USA on Wednesday because of visa problems. READ  

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite
German actress Renater Küster with a statue of her late husband Dieter Hildebrandt. Photo: DPA

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite

The Social Democrats (SPD) accidentally invited a dead TV star to attend its summer party. It got a shock when the veteran presenter replied saying, "I can't make it". READ  

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'
The digger tipped over. Photo: DPA

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'

A father died and five of his friends were injured on Tuesday night in western Germany when a digger fell on top of them during a so-called Cold Water Challenge. READ  

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Raisting crop circle. Photo: DPA

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds

A mysterious crop circle in Bavaria has attracted thousands of visitors since it was spotted in a wheat field last week. READ  

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria
Photo: DPA

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria

A ten-year-old girl and her 21-year-old brother were killed overnight in a road accident on the A1 motorway in Upper Austria, caused by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. READ  

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'
Merkel warned further sanctions could be imposed against Russia. Photo: DPA

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'

Strong sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis were “inevitable”, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed on Tuesday night, despite Germany's initial reluctance to get tough on President Vladimir Putin. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,261
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd