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AP Finds the Smoking Gun on Ratzinger

Ratzinger's signature, allowing a priest-abuser to go free.

Read it here.

Pray for the Church. For the children; for the safety of the faithful; for those whose faith is wounded or destroyed. Only Jesus can save us from the monstrous acts of men.++

UPDATE, 3:15 pm my time:

Of course, my declaring this AP report a “smoking gun” doesn’t make it so, but it’s been interesting to watch the story move up and up and up in prominence on the websites of major newspapers.

I first saw it in abbreviated form (5 paragraphs) on the website of my hometown daily in Lafayette, Indiana. Then a much bigger version appeared in the second spot up top in the Chicago Tribune.

The dateline says Los Angeles, but the last time I checked the L.A. Times hadn’t even posted it.

The New York Times first made it subsidiary to its original reporting that the pope is offering to meet with more abuse victims to repair the damage to the Church’s reputation. Meanwhile The Times, which prioritizes stories according to their professional judgment about what readers need to know (unlike my local paper), stuck with the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens as the most important news of the day.

But then this AP story got moved up on nytimes.com. An editor moved the AP report above the Vatican’s more conciliatory stance (“Pope offers to meet with more victims”) after a week of combat in which the Church claimed it was being victimized by all the crime reports. The AP exclusive is now the second lead in the middle, a more appropriate placement in my view.

I don’t see how the pope can survive this. The drums have started; he’s got to go.

Of course if anyone can survive a crisis it’s the head of the Catholic Church. But here we have evidence that Ratzinger himself put the Church’s reputation above the damage a priest caused to children.

Ratzinger’s signature is on the letter. He was worried that laypeople would complain if a “young” priest (age 38) were removed from the ministry.

The bishop in California said, “No, it’s not like that, this guy’s dangerous!” But Ratzinger sat on it for years and years.

The priest then went on to molest every child he could get his hands on. He lost count of how many kids he raped. “Tons,” he said in a jailhouse interview.

I would think the laypeople are going to have to take matters into their own hands. They’re not automatons or robots, no matter how much the Church tries to put them in that role. They’re thinking, feeling human beings — and many of them are parents.

If they believe the old cliché that “The hierarchy isn’t the Church, the People are the Church,” it’s time they started acting like it. Because the hierarchy is headed straight for the cliff.

I may yet be surprised by the resilience and tenacity of the Old Guard, which knows nothing if not How to Survive. But I don’t see how Ratzinger can survive this. His signature is at the bottom of the letter.

Written in Latin; isn’t that precious? May Peter himself strike him down!++