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Munich case: facts do not support link to Pope

CWN - March 16, 2010

While journalists have been using a sex-abuse case in the Munich archdiocese in efforts to form a direct link to Pope Benedict XVI, emerging details of the case show clearly that the future Pontiff was not involved in appointing the accused molester to do parish work.

Meanwhile the Munich archdiocese has suspended the priest at the center of the scandal, explaining that he has violated an agreement not to have contact with young people.

The priest-- previously known only as "H" but not identified in a New York Times account as Peter Hullermann-- was a priest in the Essen diocese in 1980, when he was first accused of sexual misconduct. At the time then-Cardinal Ratzinger was Archbishop of Munich. The New York Times reports: "The future pope approved his transfer to Munich." That sentence is grossly misleading; the Times neglects to add the crucial fact that Cardinal Ratzinger approved the accused priest's entry into a counseling program in Munich; he did not approve him for a parish assignment.

As officials both in Munich and at the Vatican had previously explained, the vicar-general of the Munich archdiocese later allowed Father Hullerman to work in a parish. The vicar general has stated that he made this decision without the knowledge-- let alone approval-- of Cardinal Ratzinger.

Father Hullerman was given a parish assignment in September 1982-- 7 months after Cardinal Ratzinger resigned his post as Archbishop of Munich, having taken up his new responsibilities as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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  • Posted by: mjarman7759049 - Mar. 16, 2010 1:23 PM ET USA

    There are really only two things to say about this subject: 1. Fair or not, every Bishop in the Roman Catholic Church is now living under suspicion of covering up for abusive priests (while school superintendents, and administrators of Protestant, Jewish and Moslem congregations are not - although sexual predators are in their midst at about the same rate of frequency); 2. Knowing that item #1 is true, Roman Catholic Bishops have a decision to make: root out the problem or not.

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