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Pope helped priest accused of child abuse

AFP/The Local · 13 Mar 2010, 11:50

Published: 13 Mar 2010 11:50 GMT+01:00

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The child sex abuse scandal currently rocking Germany has affected 19 of the country’s 27 Catholic dioceses, with new accusations almost daily from former school pupils and choir members.

Pope Benedict XVI, who spent much of his early church career in his home country of Germany, has actively spoken against paedophilia and made promises that accusations would be investigated wherever they arose. After a meeting on Friday with Germany's top Catholic cleric, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, he also approved moves to appoint a watchdog to prevent child sex abuse.

A large part of the scandal involves the protection of those accused of abuse, and their continued employment by the church.

Yet it emerged on Saturday that as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich and Friesing, the Pope supported an attempt to rehabilitate a priest within his own diocese.

Identified only as H., he had been accused of the sex abuse while in Essen, but moved to Munich for help.

“It was decided in 1980 to give H. accommodation in a rectory so that he could receive therapy. The archbishop [now Pope Benedict XVI] took part in this decision," a statement from the Munich and Friesing diocese said.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that H. was given spiritual duties to perform and no further wrongdoing was reported between 1980 and 1982, when Ratzinger moved to the Vatican.

But further sex abuse claims were made against the priest in 1985 – allegations so severe he was relieved of his duties and the secular authorities became involved.

A year later he was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence, later extended to five years, and fined 4,000 deutschmarks for sexually abusing minors. He was instructed to undergo therapy.

Yet he remained in the church and worked in a retirement home between 1986 and 1987 before becoming a curate and later a church administrator.

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Although no further allegations have been made against him, in 2008 he was relieved of his duties in Garching and five months later was given different responsibilities, and was not allowed to work with young people.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said he still works in the diocese today.

In a statement from the diocese, former vicar general Gerhard Gruber said, “The repeated employment of H. in priestly spiritual duties was a bad mistake. I assume all responsibility.”

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:26 March 13, 2010 by kotapzero
Check youtube for louis ck and catholic church.
22:20 March 13, 2010 by dbert4
I'm shocked! Yeah right!
23:05 March 13, 2010 by homeboy
"has actively spoken against paedophilia and made promises that accusations would be investigated wherever they arose" He did like hell, he said the American news media exaggerated the problem. He also said that less that 1% of the clergy were child molesters. Remember this S**T flows down hill, what is he Sgt Schultz, "I know nothing"
23:10 March 13, 2010 by itsmeagain2010
The Catholic Church--you gotta just love 'em! I hope this will be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back. I wonder if the Pope will just smile angelically and let his top people talk about how he's infallible and God speaks through him. What slime! The Pope and the rest of his gang thought they could do as they pleased forever. Here we go: if subordinates handled matters like what to do with a priest who already served prison time---then, my friends, what kind of "bigger" matters did old pappa Joe handle by himself? Was he busy figuring out some kind of tithing schedule or the syllabus for Catholic school grades? There ARE no other issues more appropriate for the top guy than the fate of a convicted child rapist priest. Am I nuts or isn't that true? To me, one of the sickest comments a Vatican pro ever made to the media was that a study showed the incidence of child abuse among priests was no higher (!) than in other occupations. So, these men and women go to seminaries for what, 4 years, studying the Bible, and all that time and "dedication" does nothing to make than different from the average person? Except that they've got a lot more power over...and trust from...many other people who expect better. Time for the Church to liquidate their properties and just open a chain of Vegas casinos or something like that.
23:14 March 13, 2010 by rosenthalenglish
The head of Germany's Child Protection League, Heinz Hilgers, warned however that all the attention should not be focused on cases that occurred decades ago. He stressed that every year between 80,000 and 120,000 children in Germany are sexually abused. Most cases, he said, happen in the family and not through the church or in schools.BUT YOU ALL WANT TO IGNORE THAT INFO ON THIS FORUM AND HIDE YOUR HEADS IN THE SAND AND JUST KEEP ON ATTACKING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH-Hypocrites all of you.Your so into bashing the Church you dont want to know the real truth and really help ALL THOSE CHILDREN WHO HAVE SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF PAEDOPHILES!
03:41 March 14, 2010 by Talonx
rosenthalenglish, either you don't know what 'hypocrit' means or you think everybody posting on this board is a pedo. As for the rest of what you said, typical solution to a problem you don't want to deal with, diversion.
13:34 March 14, 2010 by mixxim
People who believe in angels flying over a manger, an old santa claus in the sky and fairies at the bottom of the garden are all mad. But who is the black ape with horns who comes out at night?
13:35 March 14, 2010 by dbert4
The Catholic Church should undergo a liquidation sale, the proceeds, after taxes should go to compensate those that have suffered by their hand through the ages.
16:12 March 14, 2010 by romber58
Rosenthalenglish makes me think of a deer caught in the headlights and flays his limbs wildly in a desperate attempt to protect himself.

Understandable and cute and to be pitied like the last two on the bridge of the Titanic,,
07:37 March 15, 2010 by Forgotten Australian Family
I have documentary proof that the Anglican Church would not investigate a complaint until a complaint to the police was withdrawn. This was in 1997, so they will no doubt think up a spin to explain it. When ultimately the complaint was substantiated, it was then overturned later by the Diocese, and the victim received no compensation. This is despite corroborating evidence about another victim, aged 12.
10:05 March 15, 2010 by mixxim
If parents teach their children about a Santa Claus in the sky and send them to be choirboys what do they expect. No thinking person can believe this nonsense any more.
12:07 March 15, 2010 by wenddiver
I agree with Luther, marrt them off and reform the Roman Catholic Church.
13:31 March 15, 2010 by Whitesmoke
In may 2001 the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clear instruction its organs that any case of clerical sexual abuse of children was to be kept secret even 10 years beyond the age of 18 years of the victim before it could be made known. The prefect's name? Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. This order remains in force and would have to be revoked by him for any thorough assessment of the scale of clerical peadophilia in the RCC to begin. Meanwhile a watchdog of the church is a further attempt by the Pope to hoodwink the public and keep it hoping for something that will never happen, namely the transparency and purgation of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope knows things and how.
13:37 March 15, 2010 by michael4096

You once complained that you were also entitled to your opinion. You were quite right and, even though I'm not in complete agreement with you, I defend your right to your opinion. However, I don't think that you are doing your ideas any favours by shouting and by stating factual errors - they simply detract from your message.

Generally, you seem to be saying that most paedophilia occurs outside the church and so concentrating on the church is counter productive. I don't agree with you completely because:

- the church actively encourages these behaviours by providing access to those most vulnerable in a systematic manner with its medieval ideas concerning discipline for children - it attracts paedophiles

- the church's policy of active recruitment of young children and use of fear (of the afterlife, of authority...) to maintain its congregation eliminate the only effective way catching this problem - the children speaking out

- the church's cover up when they find out it does happen exacerbates the problem - when paedophiles are caught outside the church they are kept away from kids afterwards

Most (by far) carbon-dioxide is released naturally and not by man but this doesn't mean we shouldn't stop using coal. Similarly, most abuse is outside the church but the church provides, probably, the single biggest source of abuse that can be easily stopped, dead, tomorrow. If the will is there.
10:42 March 16, 2010 by rosenthalenglish
michael4096-Thank you for your views.I do agree that mistakes have been made.These should be sorted out immediatly.However as I have been claiming all along the problem is in society as a whole not just the Catholic Church.Proof of this comes today 16th March 2010 when the Front Page Headline of the "Allgäuer Zeitung states "EVERY YEAR OVER 10,000 CHILDREN SUFFER SEXUAL ABUSE IN GERMANY":This is in places OTHER than the Catholic Church.Now as we look at percentages we can see that its not just Catholics,Christians,Believers who are doing this,but non-believers as well.Now what are we going to do to rid society of this cancer which is destroying the lives of our children?
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