Pope Engineered Cover-up of Child Sex Abuse, says Theologian [Hans Kung]
Irish Times , April 16, 2010 by Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
THE POPE has been accused by a leading theologian of engineering a worldwide cover-up of clerical child sex abuse in the Catholic Church and of having made worse everything that is wrong in the church.
The accusations have been levelled by Pope Benedict’s longtime critic and former colleague, Swiss theologian Fr Hans Kung, in an open letter to the Catholic bishops of the world, published in this newspaper today.
It is devastatingly critical of the pope and urges the bishops not to be silent where the current church crisis is concerned but to set about reform and call for another Vatican council.
Timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Benedict’s election as pope next Monday, Fr Kung says in the letter “there is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005)”.
He continues: “During the reign of Pope John Paul II, that Congregation had already taken charge of all such cases under oath of strictest silence. Ratzinger himself, on May 18th, 2001, sent a solemn document to all the bishops dealing with severe crimes ( epistula de delictis gravioribus ), in which cases of abuse were sealed under the secretum pontificium, the violation of which could entail grave ecclesiastical penalties.
“With good reason, therefore, many people have expected a personal mea culpa on the part of the former prefect and current pope.Instead, the pope passed up the opportunity afforded by Holy Week: On Easter Sunday, he had his innocence proclaimed urbi et orbi by the dean of the College of Cardinals [Cardinal Angelo Sodano].”
Fr Kung says that “when it comes to facing the major challenges of our times, his [Benedict’s] pontificate has increasingly passed up more opportunities than it has taken”.
Such missed opportunities included, he says, “rapprochement with the Protestant churches”, “reconciliation with the Jews”, “the opportunity for a dialogue with Muslims”, and “reconciliation with the colonised indigenous peoples of Latin America”.
Also missed was “the opportunity to help the people of Africa by allowing the use of birth control to fight overpopulation and condoms to fight the spread of HIV” and that of making “peace with modern science by clearly affirming the theory of evolution and accepting stem-cell research”.
He says that “with a return to pomp and spectacle catching the attention of the media, the reactionary forces in Rome have attempted to present us with a strong church fronted by an absolutistic ‘Vicar of Christ’ who combines the church’s legislative, executive and judicial powers in his hands alone. But Benedict’s policy of restoration has failed.”
Extract from "This year they said" - Irish Times, 28 December 2010
“THERE IS no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger.” – Theologian Hans Kung on the role of Pope Benedict in abuse scandals.http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/1228/1224286360153.html