Andrew Sullivan makes the case against Pope Benedict XVI and his handling of the child rape scandal:
The AP's story on Joseph Ratzinger's direct involvement in delaying for six years the defrocking of a priest who had confessed to tying up and raping minors ends any doubt that the future Pope is as implicated in the sex abuse crisis as much as any other official in the church.
The facts are as clear as they are damning. From the documents, the priest fits exactly the model of arrested development I sketched out here. He seems to have been pressured by a bossy mother to become a priest, and was interested only in hanging out with children around the ages of 11 to 13 (the age of the boys he raped). He had no genuine impulse to ordination, but the church was so desperate for priests he was acceptable.
When confronted with the charges, the priest pleaded no contest to tying up and raping two pre-teen boys in 1978 in the rectory of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Union City. There were, apparently, several more victims. There was no dispute as to his guilt. The priest, Stephen Kiesle, personally requested he be defrocked. His legacy is horrifying:
Kiesle, now 63 and recently released from prison, lives in the Rossmoor senior community in Walnut Creek and wears a Global Positioning System anklet. He is on parole for a different sex crime against a child. Numerous accusers have said he abused them as children at Our Lady of the Rosary, Santa Paula (now Our Lady of Guadalupe) in Fremont and Saint Joseph in Pinole, where he served in the mid-1970s, then returned in 1985 to volunteer as a youth minister.
Yes, this rapist was subsequently allowed back into the parish where he tied up and raped children seven years later as a volunteer youth minister. Even after his eventual defrocking, in 1987, he continued to work with children at the parish for another year.
Whose fault was this? In this case, it is absolutely clear that his remaining a priest was entirely the fault of the Vatican, and the person directly responsible for the delay in defrocking him was Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Kiesle himself requested he be defrocked. The local bishop desperately wanted him to be defrocked and petitioned Raztinger first in 1981 that it happen expeditiously. The bishop, knowing that what the hierarchy cared about was bad press, not the protection and welfare of children, argued that there would be more “scandal” if the priest were kept in ministry than if he were fired…