Media Failed to Blame Pope in Sexual Abuse Cases
Vatican Aide Stresses Pontiff's Work Against Crime
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The attempts of various media sources, especially in Germany, to implicate Benedict XVI in cases of sexual abuse by clergy, have failed, said the Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this in a communiqué that was broadcast by Vatican Radio.
"It is obvious," he said, "that in recent days there are people who have tried -- with a certain tenacity in Regensburg and Munich -- to find ways to personally involve the Holy Father in the matters relating to the abuses."
"For every objective observer it is evident that these efforts have failed," Father Lombardi pointed out.
In particular, he noted, some have tried to blame Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of having reassigned to ministry a priest who was guilty of sexual abuse of minors, while the cardinal was archbishop of Munich, Germany, in 1980.
The priest referred to the "ample and detailed press release" publicized by the Archdiocese of Munich, in which it demonstrated that the Pontiff had no responsibility in this case.
Cardinal Ratzinger had done nothing more than welcome this presbyter to his diocese in order that the man could undergo psychotherapeutic treatment, but the prelate did not approve the priest's pastoral reintegration.
The spokesman explained that Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, worked in that capacity to establish and apply rigid and rigorous norms that the Catholic Church has used in its response to the abuse cases it has discovered in recent years.
"His line has always been one of rigor and consistency in confronting even the most difficult situations," Father Lombardi said of Benedict XVI.
To illustrate this point, the priest referred to an "important and lengthy interview" by Monsignor Charles Scicluna, who handles cases brought against abusive priests for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
This interview, published Saturday by Avvenire, explained in a detailed manner the significance of the canonical norms specifically established by the Church in recent years in order to "judge the very grave crime of sexual abuse of minors by ecclesiastics."
"It becomes absolutely clear that such norms do not intend and have not favored any cover-up of these crimes but, on the contrary, have brought about an intense activity to handle, judge and punish these crimes adequately in the framework of the ecclesiastical order," Father Lombardi affirmed.
For this reason, he said, "despite the tempest, the Church clearly sees the path to follow, under the certain and rigorous leadership of the Holy Father."
The priest concluded, "As we have already observed, we hope that in the end this travail can be a help to society as a whole to take ever better care of the protection and formation of children and youth."