According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Pope Benedict will return to being known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once he has stepped down as pope. He will be addressed as his eminence or Cardinal Ratzinger. – Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation explained


WE ALREADY know the history the Catholic Church has of demeaning the faith and leadership potential of women inside the church, as well as the Vatican’s scandalous treatment of U.S. nuns, which has been labeled “a new inquisition.” But now that Pope Benedict has announced his intention to abdicate, politicians like V.P. Joe Biden who talks of Pope Benedict’s “incredibly high standards,” the U.S. traditional media conglomerates are in the throes of ignoring the real legacy of Pope Benedict’s tenure, with hosts, pundits and guests now working overtime to sanctify a papal legacy that has been a moral and ethical catastrophe for the Catholic Church.

While Pope Benedict was protecting pedophile priests…

Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated by Pope Benedict for daring to suggest that women belong in the church leadership.

Comparing women’s ordination to the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage, Bourgeois said “this movement of gender equality … is rooted in God, equality and justice. It’s not stoppable.” “This letter is not going to stop anything,” Bourgeois said. “I think it’s simply going to bring more people into the movement.”

Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley, a prominent liberal Catholic theologian, was censured for her book critical of the Catholic Church’s “sexual ethics,” though I’d argue they have none.

And who can forget Pope Benedict asserting that condoms makes AIDS worse?

But these important issues fall away when compared to Pope Benedict’s role in creating the avenue to cover up and then protect the priests who were serial child rapists.

The successor to Pope John Paul, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict, was found to have signed a letter that would keep investigations of Catholic priest pedophilia against children behind closed doors, and the evidence kept secret for 10 years after the victim reaches adulthood. It brought outrage and demands that he resign long ago.

The AP confirmed the signature of Ratzinger from 1985, providing proof via a photograph [at this link] back in 2010, which revived the furor and the charges against Pope Benedict.

At the same time, Pope Benedict’s brother Georg Ratzinger became the center of a new pedophilia scandal in Germany.

“Obstruction of justice” charges were alleged against Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he became the new pope, because of a confidential letter that was leaked, which he signed. From the Guardian back in 2005:

It asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II’s successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a ‘clear obstruction of justice’.

The letter, ‘concerning very grave sins’, was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.

It spells out to bishops the church’s position on a number of matters ranging from celebrating the eucharist with a non-Catholic to sexual abuse by a cleric ‘with a minor below the age of 18 years’. Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’.

The letter states that the church’s jurisdiction ‘begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age’ and lasts for 10 years.

The letter reportedly states that “preliminary investigations” of child abuse by priests be sent to Ratzinger’s office and that he has the authority to appoint “secret tribunals.” Ratzinger’s letter goes on to state that “cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.”

“Pontifical secret,” how convenient for the Vatican and the man who became Pope Benedict, which the world media is now sanctifying, because he willingly chose to step down. However, that an 85 year-old man who few doubt was complicit in the cover-up of the worst crimes against children ever committed by a religious institution should be covered in any way other than through the despicable decisions that led to pedophilia victims of the Catholic Church not getting justice makes a mockery of the Catholic faith itself.

Pope Benedict’s one on one meetings with abuse victims hardly makes up for the concerted efforts and purposeful acts he orchestrated to protect pedophile priests.

The U.S. media can be kind to the pope, because they’re afraid of religious backlash and have basically have little journalistic integrity because of it. However, history should not be kind to Pope Benedict.

Hiding religious criminals who commit acts of unspeakable nature against children is a human rights crime of which Pope Benedict is most certainly guilty.

There’s a reason the majority of U.S. Catholics pay no attention to the Vatican and the corrupt all-male hierarchy that protects their own over children.

The dim light at the end of the Catholic Church’s deepest and darkest tunnel is that we are approaching Lent for Catholics, and Easter, with the Vatican saying a new pope will be chosen before that time. But it won’t help Pope Benedict and his morally and ethically bankrupt papacy.

Christopher Hitches’ words waft up from the grave.

Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office “¦ under the penalty of excommunication.” (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)