Priest Says He Was Bullied Into Taking Fall For Pope Benedict XVI In Abuse Scandal

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The church official who initially said it was his fault that a paedophile priest was given succour in Pope Benedict XVI’s former diocese has broken ranks, alleging he was bullied into taking responsibility to protect the pontiff.

Gerhard Gruber was Joseph Ratzinger’s general vicar in Munich during the 1980s, when Ratzinger, now Pope, was Archbishop.

Ratzinger chaired the meeting which decided to offer paedophile priest Peter H., a safe haven in Munich. The priest was also given further positions of trust in the church, and was later convicted of further child abuse.

Gruber’s friends have told Der Spiegel news magazine that when the story came to light last month, he was under immense pressure to take responsibility for the decision in order to shield the Pope from accusations of having helped a paedophile.

The magazine wrote that he was urgently “requested” to take full responsibility in order to take the Pope “out of the firing line.”

He wrote in a letter to a friend that he had been faxed a statement that he was to make, though he had been given the opportunity to suggest changes.

Gruber issued a statement in March which said, “The repeated employment of H. in priestly spiritual duties was a bad mistake. I assume all responsibility.”

The implication from the bishopric that Gruber had acted alone in offering help to the paedophile priest, and not turned him over to the police, has greatly upset him, the magazine wrote.

The Catholic church’s handling of repeated child abuse allegations in Germany and beyond has prompted repeated calls for bishops to resign for either not reporting claims to secular authorities, or for making light of charges made by victims.

The latest bishop under such pressure is Heinrich Mussinghoff, bishop of Aachen, whose handling of an abuse claim has been heavily criticised by a child protection group.

The Initiative Against Violence and Sexual Abuse of Children and Youths accuses Mussinghoff of ignoring claims made this January by a 19-year-old man that he was sexually abused as a child by the bishopric’s head of personnel.

Nothing has been done about the man’s claims, the initiative’s spokesman Johannes Heibel said.

“Those responsible should resign because the church has not met its own promises, despite a months-long debate over sexual abuse,” he said.

The accused priest, named only as Georg K., is said to have regularly abused the man and others, even making videos and photos of the abuse. The man’s family has not yet been contacted by anyone from the bishopric, having made the claims.

When Der Spiegel contacted the bishopric for a comment, it was told, “The boy should have contacted us, not us him.”

Published: 18 Apr 10 10:18 CET

Source: The Local

Related information:

Catholic Church is ‘like the Mafia’ (The Telegraph)

Cardinal Praised Bishop’s Silence Over Paedophile Priest (BBC NEWS)

Catholic Priest Accused of Child Porn Possession (AP)

Belgian Bishops Failed To Punish Over 300 Paedophilia Complaints (AFP)

Connecticut Catholic Bishops Fight Sex Abuse Bill (CNN)

Richard Dawkins plans to arrest Pope Benedict XVI during his state visit to Britain ‘for crimes against humanity’ (Times)

Catholic Priest Raped Teenage Boy At Gunpoint (My San Antonio)

Norway Catholic Church Computer Server Crashed By Flood Of Pedophile Priests Abuse Claims (AFP)

Pope John Paul II Blocked Inquiry of Paedophile Cardinal Friend Who Abused 2,000 boys (Times)

Ireland Archbishop Stunned by Archbishop of Canterbury’s Criticism of Catholic Church (Times)

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism (AP)

ABC Nightline: What the Pope Knew About Father Maciel (ABC NEWS)

Pope Benedict Appointed Bishop Accused of Ritually Beating Orphaned Children (The Raw Story)

40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably (Gallup)

1963 letter indicates former pope knew of abuse (AP)

Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day (Digital Journal)

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year (Austrian Independent)

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge (Sydney Morning Herald)

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal (Huffington Post)

The Pope Is Not Above the Law (Slate)

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican (Times)

Pope Benedict Signals Won’t Be Intimidated By Abuse Critics, Uses Popemobile For First Time On A Palm Sunday (New York Times/AFP)

Vatican knew of abuse in Ontario: Victim (Toronto Star)

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)

Sinead O’Connor: ‘There Should Be A Full Criminal Investigation Of The Pope’ (LA Times)

Catholic Church quietly expelling and punishing children, homeless (Irish Central)

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests (Flashback):

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

Swiss Catholic Church Investigating 10 Abuse Cases (Reuters)

Irish Catholic Church Paid Child Sex Abuse Victim To Keep Quiet (Guardian)

Catholic Church Child Abuse: Nuns Now Also Accused (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Church: Pope Had Role in Moving Molesting Priest (Bloomberg)

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry (Times)

Pope will struggle to survive abuse scandal (Irish Independent)

Benedict’s involvement ’shows extent of cover-ups’ (Irish Independent)

Sinead O’Connor: I’d help Jesus to burn down the Vatican (Irish Independent)

RIGHTS-GERMANY: ‘Catholic Church Protects Paedophile Priests’ (IPS)

Child abuse claims sweep Catholic Church in Europe (AP)

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