|Illustration of Papal 'criminality' on New Humanist website|
According to his blog site, he is Senior Contributing Editor to Attitude, Britain's 'best-selling gay magazine'. The Holy Father is obviously very popular within the editorial team of Britain's best-selling gay magazine, having condemned the culture of homosexuality as a 'danger to human ecology', so its very surprising that Hari wants the Pope's head on a spike. I doubt very much that his motivation to denounce the Vicar of Christ on Earth has anything at all to do with the Church's Teaching. No, its because Johann is an inspired defender of human rights across the World. It's not like he'd drop Pope-baiting and forget about the abuse crisis tomorrow if the Holy See named the practise of sodomy to be a chief theological virtue.
Anyway, his latest offering to readers of The Independent is directed at Catholics. It appears very much that we need to be saved, which we knew already, but, wait! Salvation comes in the form, not of a Priest offering the words of Absolution, but of a newly-ordained minister in the priesthood of atheism, offering us a load of anti-Papal placards and lifetime membership of the Humanist Association: Johann Hari. Quick, Hari or hurry, rather, lest we drown in this Church of kiddie-fiddling, sky-fairy myth and beguilling legend story-telling sinister mental institution for adults and children! Save us, Mr Hari!
Look! Here he comes! Our knight in shining armour...
'I want to appeal to Britain’s Catholics now, in the final days before Joseph Ratzinger’s state visit begins. I know that you are overwhelmingly decent people (Oh, how very gracious! You see! Just because you're a Catholic doesn't mean you are necessarily a paedophile pervert or a paedophile cover-upper, or that you are friends with them! Thank you, Johann for condescending to speak to us, a miserable wretched species, here in this lepar colony otherwise known as the Catholic Church!).You are opposed to covering up the rape of children (Indeed, as are the large majority of Priests and, yes, even Bishops). You are opposed to telling Africans that condoms “increase the problem” of HIV/ AIDS (Some of us believe he is 100% right, what with condoms not being 100% effective, as they admit on the packet. What, never had one split on you, Johann? Believe me, it happens!). You are opposed to labelling gay people “evil” (That is not Church Teaching. Clearly, Johan doesn't suffer any 'instrinsic moral disorders'. He must be a Saint or something.) The vast majority of you, if you witnessed any of these acts, would be disgusted, and speak out (Many have been, and have spoken out, including Pope Benedict XVI himself). Yet over the next fortnight, many of you will nonetheless turn out to cheer for a Pope who has unrepentantly done all these things. (Oh my! You're right! We're batshit insane! What were we thinking!? Arrest the Paedo Pope!)
I believe you are much better people than this man (Objective evidence of my life would suggest the contrary). It is my conviction that if you impartially review the evidence of the suffering he has inflicted on your fellow Catholics, you will stand in solidarity with them – and join the protesters (and having impartially reviewed the evidence and we don't join you, we are what? A paedophile's best friend?).
Some people think Ratzinger’s critics are holding him responsible for acts that were carried out before he became Pope, simply because he is head of the institution involved (Could it really be?). This is an error. For over 25 years, Ratzinger was personally in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the part of the Vatican responsible for enforcing Catholic canonical law across the world, including on sexual abuse...
Sorry, Johan, I just have to stop you there. While Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was indeed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from November 1981, the remit of the CDF was only widened to the investigation of the sexual abuse of minors by Priests from 2001, when that charge was given to the CDF by the late Pope John Paul II, who was succeeded by Benedict XVI in 2005. In other words, the CDF's jurisdiction to investigate allegations of child abuse came late. Too late, perhaps, but the idea that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger maintained a library of abuse allegations and just let them gather dust for 25 years is simply untrue. An outright lie. It was only from 2001 onwards that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was able to see the horrific extent of allegations and records related to alleged incidences of child abuse. You will agree, I think, that by 2001 the damage to individuals throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s had been well and truly done. Moreover, it was because he saw the extent of the filth that Priests had engaged in, that he pledged to rid the Church of 'filth' - an allusion to the abuse of minors among other serious sins.
He is a notorious micromanager who, it is said, insisted every salient document cross his desk. Hans Kung, a former friend of Ratzinger’s, says: “No-one in the whole of the Catholic Church knew as much about abuse cases as this Pope.”Indeed, from 2001, he meticulously went through these documents and it was because of what he saw that this happened that the following occured. As Wikipedia states:
'Prior to 2001, the primary responsibility for investigating allegations of sexual abuse and disciplining perpetrators rested with the individual dioceses. In 2001, Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse in order to combat such abuse more efficiently. According to John L. Allen, Jr., Ratzinger in the following years "acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic church can claim" and "driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as 'filth' in the church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a 'conversion experience' throughout 2003-04.
From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess". In his role as Head of the CFD, he "led important changes made in church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statue of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders." As the Head of the CDF, Ratzinger developed a reputation for handling these cases. According to Charles J. Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, "Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum (without exceptions)".'
Anyway, don't let the truth of Cardinal Ratzinger's role and exemplary behaviour in the CDF get in the way of a good 'old time religion' Pope bashing, Johan. Do carry on...Do you want a flaming Cross? I believe they supply them in Lewes...
'We know what the methods of the church were during this period. When it was discovered a child had been raped by a priest, the church swore everybody involved to secrecy, and moved the priest on to another parish. When he raped more children, they too were sworn to secrecy, and he was moved on to another parish. And on, and on. Over 10,000 people have come forward to say they were raped as part of this misery-go-round. The church insisted all cases be kept from the police and dealt with by their own ‘canon’ law – which can only ‘punish’ child-rapists to prayer or penitence or, on rare occasions, defrocking.'
Mistakes were certainly made and terrible ones at that, but pointing the finger at Pope Benedict XVI is grossly unfair. Canonical trial is a lengthy procedure and one that takes place in secret according to the law of the Church. There was a terrible misunderstanding of the nature of child abuse and the condition of offenders. While the Church did not and tends not just take Priests by the scruff of the neck to the local Police Station on hearing of an allegation, instead pursuing an investigation, the Catholic Church made the same mistakes with regard to child abusers that were made in State care homes, schools and every public sphere where sexual predators have access to children.
In an era in which Freud was embraced even by those within the Church, paedophilia was seen as a condition that required therapy. If you wish to make a scapegoat of the Church when the 1960s, 70s and 80s saw the Church treat offenses against the child as the rest of society did, then do so, but don't 'pin it on the Pope'. According to the law of the Church it is Bishops who had the jurisdiction at this time to investigate and take action against Priests within their Dioceses. They did not need Rome's permission to take action and investigate allegations or even to hand them over to the police. If you wish to bash the Bishops over their lack of understanding, lack of sympathy for victims in their Dioceses and the way in which they dealt with these crimes in a shameful manner, please do so, because if there is one thing many of our Bishops deserve, it is a seriously good bashing, but do not, please, imagine that the then Cardinal Ratzinger just left the phone off the hook in the CDF office while victims were trying to get through. Oh...hang on...you're going to anyway...
Okay, now we're getting into the nitty gritty. Let's see how this (per)version of events holds up with scrutiny. The now reigning Pope was Archbishop of the Munich Diocese. In 1980, Father Hullerman was accused of sexual abuse and sent for therapy, an action still, at the time, thought to be effective. He came to live in a rectory in Munich to receive this therapy and while there, helped out in a Munich parish on Sundays. He was not a priest of the parish, therefore was not under the watch of the Archbishop, Joseph Ratzinger. This may appear a small detail, Johann, but it is, in fact, rather an important one. Two years later, in 1982, Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger's services to the Church were requested in Rome, as, you guessed, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Ratzinger was at the heart of this. He refuses to let any police officer see the Vatican’s documentation, even now, but honourable Catholics have leaked some of them anyway (Remember that time the cops turned up at the Vatican demanding access to the archives? No, me neither!) We know what he did. We have the paper trail. Here are three examples.
In Germany in the early 1980s, Father Peter Hullermann was moved to a diocese run by Ratzinger. He had already been accused of raping three boys. Ratzinger didn’t go to the police, but instead he was referred for “counselling”. The psychiatrist who saw him, Werner Huth, told the Church unequivocally that he was “untreatable [and] must never be allowed to work with children again.” Yet he kept being moved from parish to parish, even after a sex crime conviction in 1986. He was last accused of sexual abuse in 1998.
Seven full months after Archbishop Ratzinger was assigned to Rome, Fr Hullerman was, against the advice of his own therapist, rather foolishly then assigned to a parish in Grafing. Was it Cardinal Ratzinger who did this? No! The said Priest was convicted of serious sex offenses in 1986 and this is supposedly the 'big evidence' or 'smoking gun' against Pope Benedict, even though, by 1986 he had been 4 years in Rome! In other words, a Bishop was indeed responsible for allowing a sex offender to stray and for assigning him for counselling in Munich and then a parish, instead of canonical investigation for crimes against his Office and the child, but that man was not Archbishop Ratzinger! Now, you can say, "Oh really! How convenient!" if you want, but it really is not convenient for those pursuing the 'case against Pope Benedict XVI' because the man was not a Priest under the responsibility of his Archdiocese at the time. Quite how much the Archbishop would have even been aware of the allegations concerning the man is totally unknown, but, I would suggest, very little. I would, however, suggest that another Bishop, quite plausibly, most certainly did. Next...
The year is 1985 and the Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger is now Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. He still does not have the remit for the investigation of allegations of child abuse given him by Pope John Paul II following his own request to do so in 2001. Hari asserts that in this year 'a group of American bishops wrote to Ratzinger begging him to defrock a priest called Father Stephen Kiesle'. Oh, weren't those American Bishops just so noble! The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is now notorious for having presided over the grand majority of abuse cases in the whole of the USA - a veritable hotbed, not just of liberalism, but shameful child abuse and inaction concerning it! According to the very helpful Wikipedia, presumably an impartial source, a more trustworthy source than Hari certainly...
In the US in 1985, a group of American bishops wrote to Ratzinger begging him to defrock a priest called Father Stephen Kiesle, who had tied up and molested two young boys in a rectory. Ratzinger refused for years, explaining he was thinking of the “good of the universal Church” and of the “detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke among the community of Christ’s faithful, particularly considering the young age” of the priest involved. He was 38. He went on to rape many more children. Think about what Ratzinger’s statement reveals. Ratzinger thinks the “good of the universal Church” – your church – lies not in protecting your children from being raped, but in protecting the rapists from punishment.
'At least 64 Roman Catholic clergy members accused of molesting children have served in 61 of the 86 parishes in the Oakland Diocese, and in all seven of the Diocese's male-run high schools. The Diocese has only acknowledged 12 of the molesters, according to a 2008 MediaNews analysis of court and church records.'
If ever there was a predatory pederast priest paradise, it appears that this was it, but let's concentrate on Kiesle, given that it is he whose name is being used to blacken the name of Pope Benedict XVI.
'In Pinole, Stephen Kiesle was ordained in 1972, and the same year he began abusing Teresa Rosson, age 11, the daughter of a woman he later married. In 1978, Kiesle was sentenced (that'll be sentenced under the civil authorities, not the Church's law so the US State knew of this nutter too and failed here as well!) to three years of probation for tying up and molesting two boys in a church rectory. Kiesle continued to volunteer in Diocese churches, and continued molesting children. Kiesle served prison time in 2004 for a 1995 molestation case in Truckee. Eight more of Kiesle's victims settled with the Diocese in 2005 for between $1 million and $1.5 million each, part of a total of $56 million in settlements paid out by the Diocese that year to those who had been abused, and more than a quarter of a million in therapy for victims. Diocese-owned insurance policies covered some 57% of these payments.
You'll notice here, Johann, that it is the Diocese of Oakland that is settling the unsettleable bill with victims, not the Holy See or, in particular, the CDF. That is because it was the Diocese's responsibility to reign in this nightmare Priest among a veritable herd of nightmare Priests and bring him and the rest of the scoundrels to book! They took their time, didn't they?! Why? Oh, it was obviously because Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger 'ignored their pleas' and listened to 'Vienna' by Ultravox on his walkman instead. According to The Catholic Herald...
'Jeffrey Lena, a lawyer to the Holy See based in California, said that the letter appeared to be "a form letter typically sent out initially with respect to laicisation cases" when men ask to leave the priesthood. There may be some overstep and rush to judgment going on here," Mr Lena said. "During the entire course of the proceeding the priest remained under the control, authority and care of the local bishop who was responsible to make sure he did no harm, as the canon law provides. The abuse case wasn't transferred to the Vatican at all."'
In other words, we do not have a copy of the letter from Bishop in question and the Vatican has asserted that the response from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a standard letter concerning a Bishop requesting that a Priest under his responsibility be accepted for laicisation at the Priest's own request, presumably, because the vow of Chastity was becoming, how shall we say, 'difficult' for him. The fact that the said Priest should not perhaps have been at large in society, let alone be a Priest, was, it has been asserted, not discussed in the letter to Cardinal Ratzinger.
The CDF does not and certainly at that time did not know the conduct and history of every Priest in every Diocese around the entire globe and they can only know what they are told by Dioceses. Priests are not 'on the database' now and certainly weren't in 1985! As far as Cardinal Ratzinger knew, the man was making a request for laicisation and unless he is aware of extreme circumstances he could not grant it just because the man in question wanted to marry someone (whose own daughter it turns out he was abusing!). Even if some Priests do not take celibacy seriously like the man in question, the Vatican and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, most certainly do.
Furthermore, as has been proven by the Dioceses abysmal track record of monitoring and combatting child abuse in this era, while introducing sickening 'youth ministry' groups singing naff Christian folk songs and running workshops in liturgical dancing, laicisation itself does not stop a man abusing children, especially when they go on to volunteer in a parish's children's liturgy on Sundays, so, even if it were proved that Cardinal Ratzinger knew all about the story of this Priest, simply laicising the man would not have stopped him offending. If anything, laicising someone loosens them from the obligation of celibacy - and if there is one thing these children would have liked, it is for their priests to be celibate! Next...
In 1996, the Archbishop of Milwaukee appealed to Ratzinger to defrock a man called Father Lawrence C. Murphy, who had raped and tortured up to 200 deaf and mute children at a Catholic boarding school. His rapes often began in the confessional. Ratzinger never replied. Eight months later, there was a secret canonical ‘trial’ – but Murphy wrote to Ratzinger saying he was ill, so it was cancelled. Ratzinger advised him to take a “spiritual retreat.” He died years later, unpunished.Now this is a serious distortion of facts, Johann, and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. It's the naughty step for you, my lad! This case emerged in the public showtrial forum otherwise known as the mass media recently. The story was embellished by The New York Times, a publiction which used the case to attack the Holy Father without getting the facts straight from the very man who presided over the case, one Fr Thomas Brundage JCL.
In 1996, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger still did not have canonical jurisidiction to investigate cases of abuse. I think I've made that quite clear now. Still, let's look at the facts, since we have nothing to fear from the truth...Well, actually, some people do, certain journalists and Bishops, for example...
Fr Murphy did indeed abuse boys in a school for the deaf in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, from 1964. The victims complained to Fr David Walsh who promptly reported the matter to Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, who, inexplicably, said and did absolutely jack diddly squat! Fr Walsh then informed the Police who, quite inexplicably did...Yes, that's right! Jack shit! Eventually, Fr Walsh wrote to the Pope's representative, the Papal Nuncio in Washington, concerning the matter. In 1974, a full 10 years after the allegations were made to Archbishop Weakland, a meeting was held, attended by two Papal representatives and Fr Lawrence Murphy was suspended and removed from the school. Angry? You should be, but not at the reigning Pope! Not a single soul in Rome heard anything about this crime until a full ten years after the first reports of it emerged! By then, Fr Murphy was already suspended and, mysteriously enough, Archbishop Rembert Weakland has been disciplined and removed from his Diocese.
A full ten years after the Diocese had 'umm-ed' and 'ahh-ed' about the actions of Fr Murphy and especially because, the young victims maintained that the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) was used to approach them sexually, this case now had to go to Rome. So, now, the CDF, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger, was informed. I don't know what the Italian and US postal service is like, but it appears that some letters take 10 years to get to Rome. Therefore, at this point, Cardinal Ratzinger was informed. It is, however, unlikely that he saw the letter as the reply came two months later from Cardinal Bertone, his Deputy. This is because Cardinal Ratzinger was best qualified to deal with matters Doctrinal (he's a brainbox), while Cardinal Bertone handled administration.
Yet, by the time these Cardinals had knowledge of the crimes, Fr Murphy had already suffered two severe strokes and was not expected to live long and, as he was already suspended and could no longer pose a threat to children, it was decided that that it would not serve anybody's interests to laicise the man, which would involve the chief witnesses being brought in, namely, the victims, involving all concerned in a long, painful and drawn out process. Just two months later Fr Murphy was called to give account to God to whose mercy we can only entrust his soul.
Of course, Hari doesn't tell us any of this, but then, why would he? The facts don't fit the shameless over-simplification and misrepresentation of the life and times of Cardinal Ratzinger and they certainly don't bear witness to the kind of mockery of truth and offensive denigration of character portrayed by Hari of Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously reigning. Anyway, Hari has his own reasons for this vendetta. Let's continue...
These are only the cases that have leaked out (Indeed, they are, and not one of them lands a direct hit on the Supreme Pontiff!). Who knows what remains in the closed files? In 2001, Ratzinger wrote to every Bishop in the world, telling them allegations of abuse must be dealt with “in absolute secrecy… completely suppressed by perpetual silence.” That year, the Vatican actually lauded Bishop Pierre Pican for refusing to inform the local French police about a paedophile priest, telling him: “I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration.” The commendation was copied to all bishops.Indeed it was. The year is 2001 and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has just been given the duty to investigate incidences of abuse at the CDF. Have you ever considered why he wrote this letter? If abuse cases are dealt with in the manner in which Johann Hari deals with the 'trial of Pope Benedict' then what you have is trial by media and if there is one thing the media enjoy, it is feasting upon the sins or later proven lackthereof of Catholic clergy! The victims are then named. The Priests are then named, even though they are yet to be either cleared or convicted under Canonical Law or even civil judicial law! Priests, yes, Johann, even Priests, are innocent until proven guilty by a Court, whether ecclesiastical or civil! What that request by Pope Benedict XVI does not forbid, is that victims or the parents of victims go to the Police or the media or both if they wish to. That is their choice. The Church can ask for prudence in these matters but it is up to those concerned to make their decision. What Cardinal Ratzinger asked was that Bishops themselves do not discuss these matters with outside parties because the case has not yet been brought to trial!
I am afraid that for Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos's private endorsement of the actions of Bishop Pierre Pican, we can offer little in terms of excuses, although in defense of Bishop Pican and the Cardinal who wrote a letter which is insulting to the victims, even if doctrinally impeccable, unfortunately for the worldwide Church, the admissions of child abuse in this case appear to have come about in the Confessional. The Seal of the Confessional is inviolable and a Priest cannot divulge to anyone, with absolutely no exception, what is said in the Confessional and he certainly cannot 'name names'. He can only encourage a man to hand himself over to the relevant authorities. A Priest cannot reveal it, even under torture, because, perverse as it may appear in terms of civil justice, he cannot give away the Secrets of the Soul as they are presented to Almighty God in the Sacrament! That would be a great betrayal and violation not just of the Sacrament of Confession, but the Priesthood itself, Jesus Christ Himself indeed, even if the admission and lack of action springing therefrom betrays and violates the interests of victims of abuse. What a mess! Anyway, carry on Johan...
That is, again, a distortion of truth. Pope Benedict XVI condemned the actions of the Belgian authorities in this matter because they not only seized documents on abuse cases already under canonical trial, thereby potentially putting in jeopardy the hidden identification of victims and alleged perpertrators, but also drilled into the tombs of dead Cardinals, a violation of the dead, as if, somehow, these dead men would have died with the documents in their hands or the Church would have buried evidence with them in a sinister Da Vinci Code-esque plot! It was ridiculous but then you could argue that the Belgian Diocese brought it on itself since the inaction of the Belgian Bishops over cases of abuse was nothing less than abominable!
Some of Ratzinger’s supporters – including, extraordinarily, Ann Widdecombe – claim that, back then, there were different attitudes to paedophilia, and people didn’t know how wrong it was. In 2001? The fact they (Do you mean dodgy Bishops or the Pope?) covered it up so carefully is, in fact, evidence they knew it was profoundly wrong. If they thought it was fine, why hide it?
Once the evidence of an international conspiracy (Isn't that how Hitler described the behaviour of Jews?) to cover up abuse became incontrovertible to any reasonable observer, Ratzinger’s defenders shifted tack, and said he was sorry and would change his behaviour (No, he said the Church would change its behaviour and so it did, under his guidance and under child protection policies enacted by him). But this June, the Belgian police told the Catholic Church they could no longer ‘investigate’ child-rape on Belgian soil internally, and seized their documents relating to child abuse. If Ratzinger was repentant, he would surely have congratulated them. He did the opposite. He called them “deplorable”, and his spokesman said: “There is no precedent for this, not even under communist regimes.” He still thinks the law doesn’t apply to his institution. When Ratzinger issued supposedly ground-breaking new rules against paedophilia earlier this year, he put it on a par with… ordaining women as priests.
There are people who will tell you that these criticisms of Ratzinger are “anti-Catholic.” What could be more anti-Catholic than to cheer the man who facilitated the rape of your children? (Interesting rhetorical flourish, but empty since he did nothing of the sort!) What could be more pro-Catholic than to try to bring him to justice?
This is only one of Ratzinger’s crimes (Ah-ha! Now, we're getting to his real gripe...Church Teaching on sexuality...).When he visited Africa in March 2009, he said that condoms “increase the problem” of HIV/AIDS. His defenders say he is simply preaching abstinence outside marriage and monogamy within it, so if people are following his advice they can’t contract HIV – but in order to reinforce the first part of his message, he spreads overt lies claiming condoms don’t work. In a church in Congo, I watched as a Catholic priest said condoms contain “tiny holes” that “help” the HIV virus – not an unusual event. Meanwhile, Ratzinger calls consensual gay sex “evil”, and has been at the forefront of trying to prevent laws that establish basic rights for gay people, especially in Latin America.
Statistics support Pope Benedict XVI's assertion that wherever there are condoms, there are higher incidences of HIV and AIDS, whereas in those countries where Catholic Teaching on Marriage, the Family, fidelity, Chastity and Prayer are taken seriously the incidences of HIV/AIDS are significantly less. Condoms are not 100% effective at stopping the spread of infections. If you want evidence of this, read the packet, Johann, and the leaflet inside. As for the 'establishment of basic rights for gay people in Latin America', marriage is not a basic right. It comes with certain conditions, namely that it is something that takes place between a man and a woman. You'll never get an endorsement of sodomy from the Pope, if even if you get one from the Government, Johann, so get over it!
In other words, "If you turn out and support this Pope who has had totally unsubstantiated and unproven accusations of slavishly protecting child abusers ,you are like a child abuser or a best friend of one as well." Good grief! Johann Hari would have been a good spindoctor for Nero, or, actually Hitler, Stalin or Mao! Guilt by association? Looks like I and the 40 men and women with whom I shall be attending the Hyde Park event are in the dock!
I know that for many British Catholics, their faith makes them think of something warm and good and kind – a beloved grandmother (pass me a bucket), or the gentler sayings of Jesus (because, let's face it, His less gentle sayings of Eternal Fire for the Damned is less palatable). That is not what Ratzinger stands for. If you turn out to celebrate him, you will be understood as endorsing his crimes and his cruelties. If your faith pulls you towards him rather than his victims, shouldn’t that make you think again about your faith? Doesn’t it suggest that faith in fact distorts your moral faculties?
'I know it may cause you pain to acknowledge this. But it is nothing compared to the pain of a child raped by his priest, or a woman infected with HIV because Ratzinger said condoms makes AIDS worse, or a gay person stripped of basic legal protections. You have a choice during this state visit: stand with Ratzinger, or stand with his Catholic victims. Which side, do you think, would that be chosen by the Nazarene carpenter you find on your crucifixes? I suspect he would want Ratzinger to be greeted with an empty repulsed silence, broken only by cries for justice – and the low approaching wail of a police siren.'
Pope Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. Under inspection, Johann, all of your claims about his moral conduct fall apart under scrutiny and I would suggest that if the Holy Father did what he cannot and will not do, and changed Church Teaching to reflect your worldview and was interviewed in your magazine next week, saying, "Well, actually, we got it wrong on homosexual conduct, let's introduce gay weddings..." you'd be falling over yourself to applaud him and you'd be much more forgiving of incidences of misconduct by Priests. I would posit that Johann cares very little for the victims of abuse. He cares very little for the truth about the Pope or the pursuit of journalistic truth concerning the Pope's lengthy career. I would suggest that he despises the Pope not for who he is or what he has done, or not done, in his Church career, but because by his very Office and the Deposit of Faith that he guards steadfastly, he stands in opposition to a relativistic society dominated by atheistic worldviews espoused by Hari, Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and their ilk and all of the hysterical bullying tactics and moral blackmail you throw at us will never change our minds, for as much as you pretend that you are, your dreadful article makes quite plain that you are not on the side of Truth!
May God bless the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, protect him during the upcoming Papal Visit to the UK and help him to enlighten the hearts of this nation, to accept the words of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the same, yesterday, today and forever!