suffer the little children

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Recent revelations about Pope Ratzi's rapist-coddling past are unusually despicable:

[Rev. Stephen] 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. [...]

The diocese recommended removing Kiesle from the priesthood in 1981, the year Ratzinger was appointed to head the Vatican office [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] that shared responsibility for disciplining abusive priests.

The case then languished for four years at the Vatican before Ratzinger finally wrote to the Oakland bishop. It was two more years before Kiesle was removed; during that time he continued to do volunteer work with children through the church. [...]

Kiesle, who married after leaving the priesthood, was arrested and charged in 2002 with 13 counts of child molestation from the 1970s. All but two were thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a California law extending the statute of limitations.

He pleaded no contest in 2004 to a felony for molesting a young girl in his Truckee [California] home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Andrew Sullivan called his post on the scandal "The Third Strike," giving a clear indication of where he stands on Ratzi's tenure:

The Pope cannot blame the local bishops this time - they desperately tried to get the priest fired.

He cannot claim he was out of the loop: his signature is on the letter.

He cannot get an underling to take the fall: it's his name and his office behind the unconscionable delay and behind the actual, despicably callous and self-serving reasons to protect a man who tied children up and raped them. [...]

He had more sympathy for the relatively young age of the rapist, rather than the innocence and trauma of the raped children.

We see a man utterly corrupted by power and institutional loyalty.

So when does he resign?

For a contrarian view, Richard Dawkins was asked "Should the pope resign?" and he replied "No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly - ideally - qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church:"

A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice - the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution - while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

My own opinion is somewhat in the middle: Even the dubious stature of the Papal office is debased by its current occupant; I wonder why more Catholics aren't, like Sullivan, calling for his resignation. (There is precedent for it, though infrequent.)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 11, 2010 9:45 PM.

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