Pope Benedict Solves Mystery of Pedophile Priests … Sort of

For twenty-four years the archconservative, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition. As the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, he earned the monikers, “God’s Rottweiler” and “panzer cardinal.” It was his job to enforce doctrinal purity, both within the clerical rank and the rank and file … a task he performed with an apostolic zeal bordering on mania.

In 2002, when the scope of the pedophile priest scandal in the United States was becoming too obvious for even the Vatican to continue to ignore, Rottweiler Ratzinger claimed that the sexual abuse allegations against Catholic clergy were part of a “planned campaign” that was “intentional [and] manipulated” to discredit the church. Whose campaign he didn’t say, but his short list probably included the pro-choice and gay rights lobbies.

On April 19, 2005, in an arcane rite of “transubstantiation” known only to the College of Cardinals, the rabid Rottweiler Ratzinger became, with a puff of white smoke, the kindly, thoughtful Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Bishop of Rome and leader of one billion Catholics worldwide.

During Benedict’s million-dollar-a-day junket to the United States, a trip that the Vatican admits is a P.R. opportunity to change a German Rottweiler into an American Golden Retriever, the mystery of pedophile priests was cleared up … sort of.

According to Benedict, it is America’s “increasingly secular and materialistic culture” that caused priests to fondle and rape children. Keep in mind that the “materialistic” remark is coming from a guy who has been seen sporting a pair of custom-cobbled red shoes, Gucci sunglasses, ceremonial gowns by Gamarelli, and listening to an iPod Nano while tens of millions of Catholics worldwide struggle to feed their families, much less put shoes on their feet or sunglasses on their faces.

One can also suppose that the bishops who knew of the abuse and did nothing other than transfer the pedophiles to other parishes, where they continued to molest children, were suffering from the same demonic secular possession as the priests.

According to a 2002 study conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, 4,392 Catholic priests and deacons in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse of children since 1950, leaving an estimated 13,000 victims and over 2 billion dollars in lawsuits—money that could have been spent feeding and clothing and “sunglassing” tens of millions of destitute, but tithing, Catholics.

A “penitent” Benedict said that he was “deeply ashamed” of the pedophile priests who scandalized the Catholic Church in the U.S. He said, “It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen.” He did not dwell on the suffering of the 13,000 victims, one of whom described what happened to her as an “abuse of her soul.”

The “Golden Retriever” wagged his tail as he asked 67 million U.S. Catholics to create an atmosphere of healing and reconciliation for the victims while the “Rottweiler” tugged at his chain with a not-so-subtle admonition, “Also, I ask you to love your priests, and to affirm them in the excellent work that they do.” In other words, “Lay off! There aren’t enough priests to go around as it is.”

A good number of the abuse victims were not healed by Benedict’s anemic apology. Becky Ianni, who was abused by her parish priest from age 9 to 11, said, “He talks about feeling shame for the scandal but it’s a far cry from the shame that victims have had to live with our entire lives. We don’t really need his sense of shame, we need him to take firm actions to correct the situation.”

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the website, Bishop Accountability, which documents sexual abuse, said that words are cheap, but action has a price and she is skeptical that Benedict is willing to ante up.

Doyle wants the church hierarchy that sheltered pedophile priests from the law and allowed them to continue to abuse the bodies and souls of Catholic children to be held accountable, “Rather than shifting attention to pedophile priests, he needs to focus on the culpability of bishops. The crisis occurred because many U.S. bishops were willing to hide their priests’ crimes from the police with lies.”

So far Benedict, who is the only church official with the authority to discipline bishops for their role in perpetuating the sexual abuse, has failed to do so. Only a sucker’s bet says he will.

While Benedict is in his Retriever coat, there are a number of other people to whom he needs to apologize: to gays whom he called emotionally immature and homosexuality “objectively disordered;” to the 50 percent of Catholics whose gender disqualifies them for the priesthood; to impoverished mothers who continue to have children they can ill afford because of the Rottweiler’s dogmatic stance against family planning and birth control; to the tens of millions of tithing Catholics who live in squalid poverty while he lives in opulence on their nickels.

While a “kindly” Pope Benedict XVI can get away with blaming priestly pedophilia on someone else’s secularism, all the other sorrow caused by his doctrinal intransigence rests squarely in Joseph Ratzinger’s gilded lap.

So who is the real Bishop of Rome, the Rottweiler or the Retriever? A few words of caution should inform one’s rumination on that mystery. Zebras never change their stripes and dogs only rarely change their dispositions.

Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com. Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

7 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. bozhidar balkas said on April 21st, 2008 at 5:51am #

    catholicism is just another ism just like zionism, imperialism, judaism, fascism, nazism, capitalism.
    we could also call all religions “godism”; thus think of them as an ism
    we know that every ism wants to eliminate every other ism thru wafare, etc. All isms i know of teach falsehoods; spread hatred, intolerrance, lies, halftruths, etc.
    zionism an d nazism are,, to me, most bestial. i’ m a strong democratic socialist; this ism is most humane, tho not perfect because somany people do not accept it. thanx

  2. Travis Wright said on April 21st, 2008 at 6:34am #

    Sorry Balkas, but, you can put ism at the end of just about anything, so I don’t agree with you on that point. But, Weitzel did a great job of deciphering for us, how justice was replaced by a lot of hot air. And oh the currents of hot air that surround us today. I only hope I can muster the fortitude for ongoing engagement in solidarity movements, awareness campaigns, et cetera. Maybe someday turning evening news won’t engage my gag reflex.

  3. Michael Kenny said on April 21st, 2008 at 1:25pm #

    Can somebody tell me what a “tithing Catholic” is? As distinguished from what other kind of Catholic?
    By the way, Benedict was never the “rottweiler” the press made him out to be. He is rather stiff when he speaks in foreign languages, but I saw several interviews with him in German when he was a cardinal and the difference was like night and day! He has always been a labrador, but even a labrador will defend his turf!
    Also, has anybody noticed that according to the criteria he laid down for intervention in his UN speech, both the Afghan and Iraq wars are contrary to Catholic morality? As for his criticism of countries that intervene unilaterally in other countries, I doubt if many people thought he was referring to Papua-New Guinea!

  4. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 22nd, 2008 at 6:21am #

    Hey Kenny. You posted: ” He has always been a labrador, but even a labrador will defend his turf!”

    I read somewhere that this particular lab when a pup was in Hitler Youth.

    Corroborate or beg to differ, you?

  5. bozhidar balkas said on April 22nd, 2008 at 1:29pm #

    i do not know what you mean by “u can put an ism at the end of almost anything”.
    i still evaluate that whatever ideology one may espouse, it can be evaluated as an ism.
    the two words are synnonimous. ism cannot be a suffix for hunger , running, walking, talking, etc. fad being an ideology , a belief system may be called “fadism”.
    ideologies, to me, mean acceptance of ideas, wishes, (mis)teachings.
    in other words, we are on the level of thinking/feeling/talking and not on level of doing, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting.
    i thought i had made it clear that only to our wishes we may add an ism, or actualy call it an ism.
    one can’t compare an ism with a cough, hunger, etc. one can compare a hunger with another hunger but not with capitalism, theism, zionism, catholicism, etc.
    but we can campare any ism with any other; and if we would do, we would espy many traits that they all share: hatred for other isms and their respective followers.
    they all wage warfare for land and to gain more followers; all ideologies are exremely intolerant, etc.
    now, when this is taken in view we gain knowledge why zionist are
    so ferocious against all palestinians. it is not because they are threat to jews or judaism; they are a thret to zionism and they may with help from world eventually destroy it. thank u.
    all teach falsehoods, etcetc.
    hope this clarifies the idea about ideas. if u would ask what ideology i accept, i would say at thi time i accept humnismu. but, listen please i tell you waht i think is good for us and what is bad for us.

  6. stephan geras said on April 22nd, 2008 at 6:52pm #

    Mr. Kenney, such loyal and pious defense, the same obfuscation mouthed by the fearless catholic leader, christ’s living representative, the rock, the leader of the flock, the “take this cup from me” saviour of the face of the roman catholic chritstian churh. His denial of responsibility is perfectly corporate ceo, and your attempt to slide the truth of the injury to victims behind the propaganda Mr Hitler Youth (er…his holiness who gave the nazi salute along with many cardinals and bishops) cynically presents, is weak.

  7. a nobody said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:26am #

    what about those still lurking in countries like india? can the pope be blamed of discrimination because he only apologises to the victims in countries like the usa, australia…?