Big ol’ hat fails to shield Pope Ratzinger from sex-abuse cover-up allegations

Big ol’ hat fails to shield Pope Ratzinger from sex-abuse cover-up allegations March 27, 2012
Prat in a hat: Ratzinger, 84, pictured in Mexico

ALL is not well with the Pope first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America. In Mexico City, according to this report, gay rights and women’s rights groups gathered this week to demonstrate at the capital’s  Independence Monument and said that they were not impressed by the Pope’s message of peace. One of the demonstrators told Reuters:

For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has been persecuting, killing, imposing fines and criminalising us … We’ve had it with nuns, priests and all churches when they act against human rights and against Jesus’ word.

Despite the country having the second highest Catholic population in the world Mexico City recognises gay marriage and has abortion available on demand – and the Catholic Church is less than happy about it,

This is probably why Ratzinger gave Mexico City a wide berth, and travelled instead to Guanajuato, where  he referred to the mistreatment of children, without specifically mentioning Catholic paedophilia scandals of recent decades.

I wish to lift up my voice, inviting everyone to protect and to care for children, so that nothing may extinguish their smile, but that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.

The Pope has met with abuse victims in many foreign countries but, much to the annoyance of abuse victims in Mexico, pointedly avoided addressing the issue in that country.

Anti-Pope protesters in Mexico City

One of the women’s rights protesters in Mexico City, where a Fuck the Pope … but Use a Condom banner was prominently displayed, said:

They accuse women who have abortions but they tolerate priests who rape and commit acts of paedophilia.  In reality, they are very hypocritical …

Shortly before a meeting between Ratzinger and President Felipe Calderon, victims of sexual abuse accused the Vatican of protecting a notorious Mexican priest for decades, and expressed frustration that Pope Benedict XVI would not meet them in Mexico.

The  group including alleged victims of abuse by Marcial Maciel, the late founder of the influential Legion of Christ religious order.

Three Mexican authors took the opportunity of releasing a book accusing the Vatican of hiding or ignoring cases of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

The book, La Voluntad de no Saber (Willing Not to be Aware), chronicles multiple cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by Maciel, a Mexican-born Roman Catholic priest who was influential at the Vatican.

The book was authored by Jose Barba, a former seminarian who says he was the victim of sexual abuse by a priest. Historian Fernando M Gonzalez, a co-author, says the book is based on 212 documents leaked from the Vatican. Alberto Athie, a former Catholic priest and whistle-blower, also contributed to the book.

According to the book, the Vatican had knowledge of multiple cases of sexual abuse committed by Maciel decades ago, but church authorities chose to do nothing about it.

Meanwhile, in the US, the trial of two Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Originally three were accused in a landmark child sex-abuse case involving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but one co-defendant, Edward Avery, entered a last-minute guilty plea, confirming one accuser’s account of a brutal 1999 sexual assault inside a church sacristy. The victim was then a 10-year-old altar boy, Avery a 57-year-old priest.

Avery’s plea leaves Monsignor William Lynn and the Rev James Brennan on trial. Brennan, 48, is charged with raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

Lynn, 61, handled priest assignments for the archdiocese as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. He is the first US church official ever charged with endangering children for allegedly failing to oust Avery and Brennan from ministry despite prior child-sex complaints.

Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty. Avery agreed to serve two-and-a-half  to five years in prison for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger a child’s welfare. More importantly, he acknowledged that the archdiocese kept him in parish work despite knowing of the earlier complaint.

Lynn remains the focal point of the trial. He could get up to 28 years in prison if convicted of two counts each of conspiracy and child endangerment.

With regard to Avery, a Grand Jury report alleges that Avery’s victim said he was passed around by two priests and his Catholic school teacher at St Jerome’s Parish.

When Mass was ended, Fr Avery took the fifth-grader into the sacristy, turned on the music, and ordered him to perform a ‘striptease’ for him. … When they were both naked, the priest had the boy sit on his lap and kissed his neck and back, while saying to him that God loved him.

Oral sex and penetration is alleged to have taken place afterward.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (US trial report)

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