I believe you’ve killed the church, Holy Father


We know two things about Pope Benedict XVI this Easter that we didn’t know last Easter. We know that he was implicated in covering up two cases of multiple child rapes and molestations, one in Germany and one in the United States. His record on this makes it hard to distinguish his career from that of many other bishops and cardinals who were indirectly but clearly guilty of ignoring or covering up their underlings’ violation of the bodies and souls of the young and the vulnerable. The Vatican has spent Holy Week fighting back against those facts, but it cannot abolish or undo them. The German case is the most clear-cut — because it was so glaring and so directly connected to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as the Pope was then known. The facts are these: a priest, Peter Hullermann, was found guilty of raping children in at least three families under Ratzinger’s authority in the late 1970s. The local priest indicated that the families would “not file charges under the current circumstances”, and the case went to Ratzinger, who decided not to report the priest to the criminal authorities, nor to strip him of his office, but to send him for therapy and retain him as an active priest, capable of molesting again. The priest subsequently raped many more children; he was found guilty in 1986 and was given a suspended sentence.

more from Andrew Sullivan at The Times here.