I have noted a number of times on my personal blog - as have others in the media and blogosphere - that it appears that the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI learned nothing from the disastrous aftermath of the Watergate break-in and subsequent scandal under Richard M. Nixon's administration.
The Watergate crime was bad enough, but it was the following cover up attempts, the lies, the destruction of potential evidence, and the deliberate perjury under oath that ultimately took down Nixon and a number of his henchmen. The reality is that ultimately the truth will out - even if it sometimes takes a long time - and ultimately some folks will prove to be unwilling to take the fall for their self-centered and paranoid superiors.
The fact pattern seems to be truly repeating itself as more documents are made public and some individuals are now talking to protect their own names rather than that of the President... I mean the Pope. One such individual is former Munich Diocese Vicar General Gerhard Gruber who is now stating that he was scapegoated and that he was not the one responsible for the reassignment of a serial child rapist.
Gruber is now challenging an official Church statement that he [Gruber] "acted on his own authority," a claim he says was never discussed with him. Spiegel Online has a new story that looks at Gruber's refusal to be the fall guy for Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI, plus the new documents and information that show that Benedict's earlier denials of knowledge were lies. Combined with Raztinger's own signature on documents involving a serial child molester in the United States, this demonstrates that Benedict XVI's credibility is now completely gone. Here are some highlights from the Spiegel story:
Catholic Church officials assigned full responsibility for the reassignment of a known pedophilic priest to retired vicar general Gerhard Gruber who served as deputy to Joseph Ratzinger when he was archbishop. Gruber is now challenging a Church statement that he "acted on his own authority," a claim he says was never discussed with him.
The emergency plan was hastily assembled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising on the evening of March 11, a Thursday. The Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper had exposed the scandal surrounding pedophile priest Peter H., and the affair over sexual abuse in the church was getting dangerously close to the pope.
Peter H., a vicar from the western German city of Essen who had molested boys on several occasions, was sent to Munich in 1980, where he was assigned to work as a pastor again. As a result, he was able to abuse even more boys. The archbishop and chairman of the diocesan council, which approved H.'s appointment, was Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
Ratzinger also chaired a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, in which the pedophile priest's living arrangements and therapy were discussed. He must have been familiar with H.'s criminal past. Because of this, the diocese has, in recent weeks, left no stone unturned in its effort to explain why the current pope could not be held accountable for H.'s continued service in his diocese.
Gruber's friends say that the old man was only familiar with parts of the statement, that he was apparently being used as a scapegoat and that he was also under additional emotional pressure. To everyone's surprise, Gruber wrote an open letter in which he qualified the archdiocese's statement, writing that he did not sign any documents over which he had no influence. He also noted that he was "very upset" about the "manner in which the incidents were portrayed" by the archdiocese. "And the phrase 'acted on his own authority' also wasn't discussed with me," he wrote.
Some will ask why any of the Roman Church Church hierarchy's lies and cover up efforts matter - at least for those other than abuse victims who might have been spared but for the hierarchy's actions. It matters greatly for several reasons: (1) but for the cynical and calculated cover ups, countless children and youths might have been spared damaging sexual abuse at the hands of priests; (2) the cover ups were an obstruction of justice that should have seen bishops, cardinals - and yes, popes, criminally indicted; (3) bishops to this day continue to tax parishes with assessments that send money up the Church chain of command (some goes ultimately to Rome) to maintain the luxurious lifestyles of the high clergy and Pope - thus taking those monies from local charitable endeavors and uses; and (4) the Church hierarchy remains a major persecutor of LGBT citizens in many countries of the world, the USA included, and it is important that people of all faiths realize that the Church hierarchy is 100% morally bankrupt and that its anti-gay agenda should be rejected. Dan Savage summed up some of this nicely in the following highlights:
We expect God's representatives on earth -- men who claim for themselves the power to absolve other people of their sins and who believe they have a divine right to place limits on other people's sexual and reproductive freedoms -- to hold themselves to a slightly higher standard when it comes to CHILD RAPE than, say, school teachers who make no such claims.
And if the church hadn't worked so hard to cover up the crimes committed child rapists in the priesthood -- and worked so hard to enable ordained child rapists to continue raping children -- we wouldn't be finding out about all the cases of children who've been raped by Catholic priests all at once. And if the church had taken action against ordained child rapists when they were exposed -- by going to the police, assisting in the prosecution of these criminals, and defrocking them (rather than intimidating the victims, silencing witnesses, and subjecting the rapists to "counseling" before shuffling them off to new parishes where they could rape again does not count as "taking action")-- maybe there wouldn't be quite so many cases of child rape to talk about.
You see, the Catholic Church's cover ups made it possible for many ordained/career child rapists to prey on hundreds of children over many decades. Which is why the cover up of these crimes -- which is ongoing (claims that media reports about these crimes are a part of an orchestrated anti-Catholic campaign are the next stage of the cover up)-- matters.