[Ratzinger/Benedict] has been a leading voice in the church for enforcing traditional doctrine on homosexuality, extramarital sex and artificial birth control, writing a letter to American bishops in 1988, for example, criticizing their acceptance of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS, saying the American view supported "the classical principle of tolerance of the lesser evil."
-New York Times, 4/20/05
Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.
It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger....
It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.
'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication....
It's weird enough to try to grasp the Catholic Church's logic on the use of condoms (that it's a grave sin), but once you grasp it, it's appalling to hear the church's chief doctrine cop say that this "lesser evil" is intolerable even in the face of an appalling pandemic.
And then you see the same doctrine cop saying that pedophilia charges against priests shouldn't go to the secular authorities and shouldn't be made public, and recommending punishment for anyone who violates this omerta. This is "tolerance of the lesser evil" -- better to let these priests get away with brutalizing children than to risk harming the church -- and Ratzinger says it's OK.
Ratzinger demanded tolerance of what was, in the church's view, "the lesser evil" in the case of priestly pedophilia, while condemning "tolerance of the lesser evil" in the case of condoms. The appalling response to the child rape is comnpounded by the hypocrisy.