Christopher Hitchens blasts the Pope today:
"One by one, as I predicted, the pathetic excuses of Joseph Ratzinger's apologists evaporate before our eyes. It was said until recently that when the Rev. Peter Hullermann was found to be a vicious pederast in 1980, the man who is now pope had no personal involvement in his subsequent transfer to his own diocese or in his later unimpeded career as a rapist and a molester.
But now we find that the psychiatrist to whom the church turned for "therapy" was adamant that Hullermann never be allowed to go near children ever again. We also find that Ratzinger was one of those to whom the memo about Hullermann's transfer was actually addressed. All attempts to place the blame on a loyal subordinate, Ratzinger's vicar general, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber, have predictably failed.
According to a recent report, "the transfer of Father Hullermann from Essen would not have been a routine matter, experts said." Either that—damning enough in itself—or it perhaps would have been a routine matter, which is even worse. Certainly the pattern—of finding another parish with fresh children for the priest to assault—is the one that has become horribly "routine" ever since and became standard practice when Ratzinger became a cardinal and was placed in charge of the church's global response to clerical pederasty.
So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones. Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities."
The buck may stop with the previous pope, if Pope Benedict XVI's defense is accurate. As fresh child sex abuse scandals rock the Vatican, The Washington Post reports that the current pope is going on the offensive with a media blitz in anticipation of Easter Sunday. This week, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna countered charges that Benedict did a poor job of investigating abuse allegations back when he was a mere cardinal heading up the Vatican disciplinary office, charging that in 1995 the now-pope called for a special investigation into the former archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, for allegedly molesting young monks. According to Schoenborn, aides to Pope John Paul II blocked that investigation.