We talk about priest sexual abuse in the Catholic Church so often around here that it’s become pretty much expected. After all, when you have a church that clearly doesn’t care about keeping children safe from pedophiles in the clergy, except insofar as it costs them a ton of money in legal fees and massive financial settlements, it’s hard not to see them as hypocritical. King among the hypocrites though had to be Pope Sidious, I mean Pope Benedict XVI, who, although he once acted as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and who wrote Crimen Sollicitationis in 1962, which defined the Catholic position on priestly sex abuse, well, it turns out that his brother may have been at least tangentially involved in the molestation of at least 231 children at the Regensburger Domspatzen, a 1,000-year-old boarding school and choir in Regensburg, Bavaria. Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, ran the choir from 1964-1994.
The alleged abuses happened between 1953-1992 and involve everything from rape to sexual misconduct to severe beatings and the withholding of food. Of the 231 cases, 50 seem to be “plausible” cases of sexual abuse that happened primarily in the 70s while Ratzinger’s brother was in charge.
Now that doesn’t mean he did it, in fact, he denies having any knowledge of it. “I did not hear anything at all about sexual abuse, I was not aware that any sexual abuse was taking place at that time.” Of course, everyone says that and we later find out that they’ve had their pants around their knees with an altar boy bobbing on their knob. But while Ratzinger might not have been personally guilty, lots of people are finding it hard to believe that he wasn’t aware of what was happening.
Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer offered to meet with victims of the abuse and said “It is not up to me to pass judgement on the perpetrators because they have died. They must answer to the judgement of Christ.” Convenient that these people will never be prosecuted, just as most Catholic sex offenders are never prosecuted because of the system of silence that has become enshrined within the Catholic Church, a system that Pope Benedict XVI created and continued with his own papacy. They don’t want to expose their dirty laundry to the world, nor do they want to make the internal changes necessary to root it out, they just want to keep sweeping it under the rug because admitting they have a systemic problem is bad PR and bad PR is bad for business. They’re already suffering catastrophic membership losses, imagine what would happen if the Vatican came out and admitted that not only have they known about priest sex abuse for decades, if not centuries, but they have actively covered it up for just as long.
And that’s why, once again, the Catholic Church ends up on Horror Show Sunday. They have far too many sins to ever be forgiven, but they seem to have no interest in coming clean and actually working to solve the problems. It gets in the way of the collection plate and that’s just sad.