Skip to comments.AP EXCLUSIVE: Future pope stalled pedophile case (California priest was eventually defrocked)
Posted on 04/09/2010 11:02:30 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including "the good of the universal church," according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.
The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican's insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church's doctrinal watchdog office.
The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the Diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle.
The Vatican refused to comment on the contents of the letter Friday, but a spokesman confirmed it bore Ratzinger's signature.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Please read the entire article before ya rip the Vatican.
Ping of interest.
I gotta tell you that I don’t like what I’m reading, and I also like less, in light of this, that Il Papa moved the metropolitan* (Levada) into his former office at the CDC.
(*Oakland is a suffragan diocese in the Metropolitan of the archdiocese of San Francisco.)
AP has ignored 40 years of a much larger scale abuse in America’s Public Schools.
Who believes the timing around easter is a mere coincidence?
There is either something going on here with at least some of these accusations being credible or this is one of the most highly coordinated and cynical attacks on the papacy since Humanae vitae.
“....ship them off to Iran to live with their totally screwed up Muslim brothers.”
Why ship them all the way to Iran? Their totally screwed up Muslim brothers are living right here.
This renewed assault on the Pope orchestrated largely by the NYT should be taken for exactly what it is: An effort to destroy the traditional Catholic Church and make it little different the mainline Protestant religions.
Because the Pope is staunch traditionalist and supports the efforts of traditional Catholics, he has come into the crosshairs of the Left.
Most of the cases we read in the paper about abusive priests happened decades ago and the depraved priests have since been removed from their ministries. I support punishing ALL child molestors to the fullest extent of the law.
But for people who ARE truly concerned about this issue, you should focus most of your attention and energy where the problem is mostly occurring these days: In our public schools.
I think the reforms of Vatican II greatly diminished the standards and discipline of the Catholic Church. While it is true that pedophile priests existed in the Church prior to Vatican II in 1963, the vast majority of priests involved came into the Church after the Second Vatican Council. Standards were lowered and a number of depraved individuals entered into the priesthood who had no business being there in the first place.
Since the pedophile priest scandal erupted, the Church has in fact implemented comprehensive reforms designed to prevent this from occurring again. Candidates for vocations are now subject to thorough psychiatric review and screened to ensure they are capable of celibate life.
I am a Eucharistic Minister at my parish. And even my archdiocese, mere volunteers such as myself were subject to intense training on child sexual abuse and recognizing its symptoms. I can only imagine the intensive screening and training candidates for religious orders receive these days.
Of course we are ALL sinners. The Catholic Church is a man-made institution. There are always temptations. There is always weakness and sin. A few rotten apples that slip through the cracks always cast a negative shadow on the overwhelming majority of priests and nuns who are outstanding selfless servants of God who devote their whole lives to the Church and serving others.
So let us always be cognizant of the true agenda of those who ceaselessly attack the Holy Father. There agenda is to destroy the traditional Holy Catholic Church.
Sorry but “It happened a long time ago” and “everybody does it” are really piss poor excuses.
The point is, the current sitting Pope appears to be no different than Cardinal Law when it comes to the lax punishment and or non-removal of pedophile priests.
You can call me a bigot, liar, anti-Catholic, slanderer, etc. all you want but the RCC has a real problem on their hands and sticking their head in the sand and blaming others is not going to make it go away.
When was Vatican II wrapped up, and when would the effects have started being felt?
I respectfully disagree with you. While I acknowledge there was a serious problem in the Church and a lot of truly sick and depraved people slipped through the cracks, I know for a fact that reforms have been instituted and that people seeking religious orders are now subject to intense psychological and personality screening to ascertain their fitness for religious orders.
I myself, as a Church volunteer and Eucharistic Minister, was required to take a program called VIRTUS which is an extensive training and educational program on child sexual abuse. The Church IS in fact doing a better job of weeding out potential sexual deviants.
It’s astonishing to me how normally sane people who dismiss the rants and biased reporting of the NYT and the AP will wholeheartedly believe anything anti-Catholic published by both of those rags.
Please tell me what part of the article is false?
Isn't this what got the NY Times in trouble in the first place by getting horrendous translations and omissions of fact? I'll wait until I see all of the facts before I believe another left-wing slant of the evidence.
The letter should be published as-is for review.
The idiot reporters who write this stuff seem to think that the only penalty available and the only way to deal with a priest of this sort is to “defrock” him.
He was suspended from exercising ministry. He was dealt with by the law.
“Defrocking” refers solely to an ecclesiastical status. It is the same as “laicization.” It is not and cannot be the chief means of rendering a sex offender incapable of abusing again. For that, other means are needed. In this case those means were in place. Get angry at instances in which those other steps were not taken and abusers abused again.
But that Cardinal Ratzinger was slow to laicize has nothing specific to do with covering up or enabling abuse.
The media bandy about words like “defrock” either out of ignorance or out of malice (in the latter case, assuming that because “to defrock” means “big-time punishment” to most ignorant fools reading this crap, therefore, not to defrock means not to punish at all.
This kind of sensationalism can only work among readers who are uninformed.
But in their uninformedness they, including some Freepers, do not hesitate to make moral judgments of apocalyptic dimensions.
How about all of the facts that in the previous "bombshell" from the NY Times where there was mistranslation and omission of importatnt information in a so-called letter obtained by them?
I agree, it is unbelievable on one level, but modus operandi on another. “The good of the church” has always been his first duty.
“As his probation ended in 1981 Kiesle asked to leave the priesthood and the diocese submitted papers to Rome to defrock him.”
Why did that not happen three years earlier?
Like when the Atheists have there yearly Christmastime rant? Or Planned Parenthood’s sardonic Christmas parody?
So the last one was mis-translated?
That’s a new one but like I said, fair is fair, show the letter for all to see and translate.
Why did that not happen three years earlier?
Why did what not happen three years earlier?
Agree with frogjerk! Mistranslation a real possibility
In the AP article the AP refers to “Scandal”... The Pope wrote in LATIN...and Scandal in the Catholic Catechism means:
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.
It does not looks like this man was in ANY sort of active ministry, and he was already on the books for his no contest plea of lewd behavior. This has NOTHING to do with any sort of cover up or allowing him access to children but just the decision of whether to turn him loose on the public (as the priest was actually requesting!) or keep him as a priest. Who knows the full context of this one yet? The Vatican office may have just been looking at both sides. I agree that the one line sounds like it COULD become evidence of a bad judgement call on Cardinal Ratzinger, but you can’t even compare this to the behavior of bishops that allowed priests to get shuffled around to new parishes.
Thank you for a clear and reasoned response.
The Pope is alleged to be infallible yet he is a human being. The only infallible human being to ever grace the face of the earth was Jesus Christ. So much for the Pope’s infallibility. It appears that he erred, and in a way that was detrimental to the safety of children who were taught to trust their priests and other religious leaders. This scandal is a Catholic matter and it is up to Catholics to decide what they must do about it.
Wow, this sounds pretty bad. Of course, the Catholic church needed as many prior offender-pedophiles in higher office as possible.
Unbelievable. The guy admitted to tying up kids a few years before and more was coming out, but the Pope thought the pedophile needed more time with the kids, I guess.
As a ecclesial penalty Bishop Cummins could have imposed the loss of the clerical state upon Keisle himself after the finding of guilt in an ecclesial trial. Thus it would seem that what we have here is not a smoking gun against the then Card. Ratzinger but another example of an American bishop ducking his own responsibility and trying to take the easy way out by passing the buck to Rome through an administrative action.
So are you saying that the priest was willing to leave if he could be allowed to have sex again, but The Vatican was willing to allow him to leave if he didn’t have sex again? I don’t see that mentioned anywhere.
TSgt were having a discussion and he understood perfectly what I was referring to.
If you want to insert yourself in a discussion, then check back to see what we were talking about then you not have ask that question nor I waste time answering it.
No. The difference is between being granted a dispensation and leaving the clerical state in good standing and losing the clerical state as an imposed penalty. The proper procedure would have been Bishop Cummins dragging Keisle before his own diocesan tribunal and after a finding of guilt removing him from the clerical state as an imposed penalty, even if against his will. There was no need to petition Rome. This was just more buck passing by an American bishop.
If you don't want people commenting on your comment then I suggest you send a private message. This is an online forum where your messages are public and may be commented on or you may be asked a question. I cannot believe you don't understand how FR works.
So the pedophile was willing to leave if left in “good standing” but was unwilling to leave if not? And The Vatican was insisting on keeping him because of his transgressions?
You need to understand what the doctrine of infallibility is and what it means. You are in error in the way that you are using the doctrine as applied to your logic.
Your intervention was not a comment but an unnecessary question which a cursory reading of the post would have answered. Perhaps you have another motive for the question, I will no doubt be appraised of it in good time.
Here in lies something that is not really thought out well by many at large. A priest is found to have a credible accusations and my even be charged but put on probation. So the public says, "Defrock him", Bishop. Yet many Bishops don't. On the face of it, it seems wrong but what is better to do? Defrock him, let the accused priest/religious go into the world unabated or to keep him in a place where his contact with potential victims would be limited (usually in a house in a religious order or some other penitential place).
We know that secular society isn't going to care where this person is (as proven over and over again in the papers and on TV) and their chance of corrupting someone again is greater than if they are kept in a location where they are supervised and kept in the priesthood/religious life where they must honor their vow of obedience.
My question is valid and simple and you refuse to answer it for some reason. I'm not sure why.
Implicating Ratzinger/Benedict is not just interpretatively wrong in this case but factually wrong: Sexual abuse cases as such were not his to judge.
Here's how it was explained by Michael Sean Winters in BishopsAccountability.org, a group which has been documenting the abuse crisis (I am condensing here for length, but this is his analogy):
Lets take an example from another story to illustrate. There have been threats and acts of vandalism against members of Congress. Those threats were referred to the FBI. It is hoped the FBI will catch those responsible. One such case involved the cutting of a gas line; this, perhaps, necessitated calling the Environmental Protection Agency. But, if the criminals are not caught, I am not going to blame the EPA, I am going to blame the FBI. In the article, they are trying to blame the EPA.
My impression here is that media operatives are throwing out as wide a net as possible into lurid cases going back 25, 30, even 45 years or more (e.g. the Milwaukee School for the Deaf case) in order to implicate Ratzinger/Benedict by any means necessary.
The fact that Benedict has done more than any other man in the Vatican to weed out abusers and restore doctrine and discipline--- means nothing to them.
The fact that (according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) the vast majority of the abuse cases took place from the mid-60s to the mid-80s, and since then, due to vastly more effective protective measures, have been reduced in most Dioceses to zero-- means nothing to them.
The fact that the latest report, covering 2008-2009, shows exactly six credible allegations made against over 40,000 priests serving 60 million Catholics in the U.S. --- means nothing to them.
The New York Times and the AP are banking on two easy assumptions about most readers: that they wont get past the headline and the first sentence; and that theyll say Yup, guilty without asking Wheres the rest of the story?
That UFO/Anti Catholic ping list poo poo everything about the Roman Catholic faith.
Heaven forbid anyone disagree with their UFO beliefs/Biblical theology.
I know we have allot of “packs” here at FR, somethin for everyone and that is cool.
However this one particular ping pack list come across as a bit delusional, short fused
know it alls.
Freeper Farakhans, hope their Mothership doesnt leave them behind. /sarc
on Post 12 TSgt sent a message the last part of which reads:
...Kiesle had been sentenced in 1978 to three years' probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two young boys in a San Francisco Bay area church rectory. As his probation ended in 1981, Kiesle asked to leave the priesthood and the diocese submitted papers to Rome to defrock him.
Apparently he remained a priest through his 3 years of probation.
Thus the question - Why wasn't that done three years earlier.
I am sorry if I was cruel to you - it seems so obvious to me, that I thought it was just a set up for the real post you had in mind.
So, at the very best, the Catholic church has a bad PR campaign. At the worst, well, that's the impression we already have...
Papal infallibility applies only to the Pope’s thoughts on doctrinal issues. Only a tiny number of the writings of the Pope(s) are ever considered to be infallible.
So, I don’t understand the doctrine of infallibility! Perhaps you are correct since I do not understand how a marriage that lasted for years and produced children can suddenly with the church’s blessing be annulled. Annulment and infallibility are both fantasies to me. They exist only in the mind of the beholder.
You are still missing the point. Bishop Cummins should have initiated a trial and after a finding of guilt imposed the penalty of loss of the clerical state whether on not Keisle was willing. Rome was not making any ruling on a possible imposition of a penalty by Bishop Cummins. There was no reason for this to go to Rome. Rome's response was to deny a petition for a privilege that would have left Keisle in good standing and relieved him of the demands of celibacy.