| 03.18.2018

End of an era — World should celebrate the end of Pope Benedict XVII


Yesterday, Joseph Ratzinger, more commonly known as Pope Benedict XVI, officially stepped down as pope. This man’s legacy, built on pedophile protectionism, is best illustrated by the juxtaposing treatment he has given to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, former archbishop of the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and Cardinal Mahoney, former archbishop of the archdiocese of Los Angeles. In an act astonishing to anyone aware of the Vatican’s policy on sexual assault — either ignore it or protect the perpetrator — Ratzinger pushed for Cardinal O’Brien to step down as archbishop immediately, for what amounts to allegations of sexual harassment by four male subordinates.
Reports of O’Brien propositioning four men came from the United Kingdom’s The Observer on Feb. 23, 2013. News of Ratzinger’s personal maneuverings came from O’Brien himself.
Opposite Ratzinger’s swift action against O’Brien, we have the case of Cardinal Mahoney. In 1986, Mahoney was confronted with sex abuse as directly as possible: Father Michael Baker confided in Mahoney that he had molested two boys for a total of seven years.
Mahoney’s response? Let’s look at his words, from a leaked email dated March 27, 2002. While discussing what would happen if his archdiocese’s concealment of three of their most notorious priests was uncovered by the Los Angeles district attorney, Mahoney wrote, “I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a grand jury proceeding and forced to give all names.”
With Baker, Mahoney did nothing. Baker would ultimately be convicted of molesting children, but not until 2007. By 2004, archdiocese reports tallied 23 children accusing Baker of molestation. Mahoney could have stopped 21 of these with one phone call.
This is on par with Mahoney’s entire career. Court-ordered documents released January 2012 illustrate the astounding depths of Mahoney’s depravity. No less than 12 priests from the Los Angeles archdiocese were willfully shielded from the law after rape or molestation accusations, many with the overt aid of Mahoney. One accused serial predator was warned, with Mahoney’s documented blessing, to skip therapy for fear of meeting a counselor foolish enough to report child rapists to police.
There’s also Father Peter Garcia, an admitted rapist specializing in illegal immigrant children who held the threat of deportation over his victims’ heads to maintain their silence. Mahoney purposefully kept Garcia stationed out of California, while in reach of other children. According to Mahoney’s own words, exhibited in court documents posted by the Los Angeles Times, he did this to avoid “some type of legal action filed in both criminal and civil sectors.”
If you believe Ratzinger was unaware of these reports, you do not understand his role from 2001-05 as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. His instantaneous response to O’Brien’s misdemeanors and his continued silence towards Murphy’s atrocities perfectly summarize the man we no longer call pope.
When confronted with the Vatican and church hierarchy’s deliberate defense of rape and torture, many Catholics reflexively defend the church, redirecting their focus to charity and other Catholic good works instead of alleged “mistakes.” What these Catholics miss, and their frustration with non-Catholic criticism misunderstands, is when certain levels of barbarism are breached, people are judged not by their best, but by their worst actions.
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh probably bought his mother Christmas presents, and most likely displayed more than several random acts of kindness. Because of what he did, no one cares. The Catholic hierarchy has not made “mistakes” protecting child predators, this is strategy repeated for decades across every continent, executed to near perfection. Until people like Cardinal Mahoney and Ratzinger are publically humiliated and punished through criminal convictions and civil penalties, the virtue of Catholic charity will fall upon deaf ears.
On Feb. 28, we celebrated the beginning of Ratzinger’s professional irrelevance. A man whose legacy will be stained and defined by the filth of the elderly virgins he valued over the souls he vowed to protect. A man whose legendary moral cowardice will long outlive his remaining days.
Brian Marceau can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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