Pope Benedict XV1 – Why the case for his resignation is very strong if consistency is applied to the Church higher echelons.

In late 1970s, a priest Peter Hullermann was found guilty of raping children of three families.

Archbishop Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XV1) did not report the priest to the
police but send him for therapy and he was retained as an active priest.

The priest subsequently raped many more children and was charged and found
guilty in 1986 and given a suspended sentence.

Initially, the Vicar General of the diocese Gerhard Gruber took full
responsibility but it has now emerged that the psychiatrist involved warned
Ratzinger directly of the danger of this man and told that he must be kept
away from children.

It appears that a memo indicating that Hullermann would be returned to
pastoral work after therapy. It transpires that Ratzinger chaired the
meeting where therapy was decided upon.

There is also his role as head of the Inquisition (Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith) in 1996 when a multiple rapist priest from the US
was not defrocked when he knew about the case.

The moral authority of Herr Ratzinger is looking ragged to say the least.
Will he go, NO CHANCE

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not
defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several
American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter
could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as
part of a lawsuit.

Jeffrey Phelps for The New York Times

Arthur Budzinski, at a cemetery behind St. John’s School for the Deaf, says
he was first molested in 1960 when he went to Father Murphy for confession.
The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials
tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority
was protecting the church from scandal.
The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he
and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or
discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop
in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.
The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C.
Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to
1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by
bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the
office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical
trials and defrocked.
In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case
from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight
months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio
Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin
bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father
Murphy’s dismissal.
But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally
wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial
because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case
was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.
“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my
priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal
Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain
no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.
The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep
secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who
have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The
documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’
affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who
interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the
Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own
justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who
ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews
with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that
Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never
reported it to criminal or civil authorities.
Instead of being disciplined, Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop
William E. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern
Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with
children in parishes, schools and, as one lawsuit charges, a juvenile
detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.
Even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has
emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the
correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy
has often impeded such cooperation. At the same time, the officials’
reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the
Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more
than crime and punishment.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was shown the documents
and was asked to respond to questions about the case. He provided a
statement saying that Father Murphy had certainly violated “particularly
vulnerable” children and the law, and that it was a “tragic case.” But he
pointed out that the Vatican was not forwarded the case until 1996, years
after civil authorities had investigated the case and dropped it.
Father Lombardi emphasized that neither the Code of Canon Law nor the
Vatican norms issued in 1962, which instruct bishops to conduct canonical
investigations and trials in secret, prohibited church officials from
reporting child abuse to civil authorities. He did not address why that had
never happened in this case.
As to why Father Murphy was never defrocked, he said that “the Code of
Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.” He said that Father
Murphy’s poor health and the lack of more recent accusations against him
were factors in the decision.
The Vatican’s inaction is not unusual. Only 20 percent of the 3,000 accused
priests whose cases went to the church’s doctrinal office between 2001 and
2010 were given full church trials, and only some of those were defrocked,
according to a recent interview in an Italian newspaper with Msgr. Charles
J. Scicluna, the chief internal prosecutor at that office. An additional 10
percent were defrocked immediately. Ten percent left voluntarily. But a
majority — 60 percent — faced other “administrative and disciplinary
provisions,” Monsignor Scicluna said, like being prohibited from
celebrating Mass.

To many, Father Murphy appeared to be a saint: a hearing man gifted at
communicating in American Sign Language and an effective fund-raiser for
deaf causes. A priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he started as a teacher
at St. John’s School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, in 1950. He was promoted
to run the school in 1963 even though students had disclosed to church
officials in the 1950s that he was a predator.
Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants
and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on
class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at
night. Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father
Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.
“If he was a real mean guy, I would have stayed away,” said Mr. Budzinski,
now 61, who worked for years as a journeyman printer. “But he was so
friendly, and so nice and understanding. I knew he was wrong, but I
couldn’t really believe it.”
Mr. Budzinski and a group of other deaf former students spent more than 30
years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the
Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview
that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the
time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a
very, very angry man.”
In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk,
Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual
offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker
said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about
200 boys and felt no remorse.
However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have
Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to
defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He
wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional
might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.
With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a
different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because
a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true
scandal in the future seems very possible.”
Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret
disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from
these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.
But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the
priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.
In an interview, Archbishop Weakland said that he recalled a final meeting
at the Vatican in May 1998 in which he failed to persuade Cardinal Bertone
and other doctrinal officials to grant a canonical trial to defrock Father
Murphy. (In 2002, Archbishop Weakland resigned after it became public that
he had an affair with a man and used church money to pay him a settlement.)
Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so
complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay
state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf
Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his
priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal
Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the
archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the
coffin kept closed.
“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still
hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the

MUNICH Hullermann CASE DETAILS from New York Times

Published: March 25, 2010

MUNICH — The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of a
sexual abuse case in Germany than previous church statements have
suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal
unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the
church’s hierarchy.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope and archbishop in Munich at the
time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had
approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be
returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment.
The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish.
An initial statement on the matter issued earlier this month by the
Archdiocese of Munich and Freising placed full responsibility for the
decision to allow the priest to resume his duties on Cardinal Ratzinger’s
deputy, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber. But the memo, whose existence was
confirmed by two church officials, shows that the future pope not only led
a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest, but was
also kept informed about the priest’s reassignment.
What part he played in the decision making, and how much interest he showed
in the case of the troubled priest, who had molested multiple boys in his
previous job, remains unclear. But the personnel chief who handled the
matter from the beginning, the Rev. Friedrich Fahr, “always remained
personally, exceptionally connected” to Cardinal Ratzinger, the church
The case of the German priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, has acquired
fresh relevance because it unfolded at a time when Cardinal Ratzinger, who
was later put in charge of handling thousands of abuse cases on behalf of
the Vatican, was in a position to refer the priest for prosecution, or at
least to stop him from coming into contact with children. The German
Archdiocese has acknowledged that “bad mistakes” were made in the handling
of Father Hullermann, though it attributed those mistakes to people
reporting to Cardinal Ratzinger rather than to the cardinal himself.
Church officials defend Benedict by saying the memo was routine and was
“unlikely to have landed on the archbishop’s desk,” according to the Rev.
Lorenz Wolf, judicial vicar at the Munich Archdiocese. But Father Wolf said
he could not rule out that Cardinal Ratzinger had read it.
According to Father Wolf, who spoke with Father Gruber this week at the
request of The New York Times, Father Gruber, the former vicar general,
said that he could not remember a detailed conversation with Cardinal
Ratzinger about Father Hullermann, but that Father Gruber refused to rule
out that “the name had come up.”
Benedict is well known for handling priestly abuse cases in the Vatican
before he became pope. While some have criticized his role in adjudicating
such cases over the past two decades, he has also won praise from victims’
advocates for taking the issue more seriously, apologizing to American
victims in 2008.
The future pope’s time in Munich, in the broader sweep of his life story,
has until now been viewed mostly as a steppingstone on the road to the
Vatican. But this period in his career has recently come under scrutiny —
particularly six decisive weeks from December 1979 to February 1980.
In that short span, a review of letters, meeting minutes and documents from
personnel files shows, Father Hullermann went from disgrace and suspension
from his duties in Essen to working without restrictions as a priest in
Munich, despite the fact that he was described in the letter requesting his
transfer as a potential “danger.”
In September 1979, the chaplain was removed from his congregation after
three sets of parents told his superior, the Rev. Norbert Essink, that he
had molested their sons, charges he did not deny, according to notes taken
by the superior and still in Father Hullermann’s personnel file in Essen.
On Dec. 20, 1979, Munich’s personnel chief, Father Fahr, received a phone
call from his counterpart in the Essen Diocese, Klaus Malangré.
There is no official record of their conversation, but in a letter to
Father Fahr dated that Jan. 3, Father Malangré referred to it as part of a
formal request for Father Hullermann’s transfer to Munich to see a
psychiatrist there.
Sexual abuse of boys is not explicitly mentioned in the letter, but the
subtext is clear. “Reports from the congregation in which he was last
active made us aware that Chaplain Hullermann presented a danger that
caused us to immediately withdraw him from pastoral duties,” the letter
said. By pointing out that “no proceedings against Chaplain Hullermann are
pending,” Father Malangré also communicated that the danger in question was
serious enough that it could have merited legal consequences.
He dropped another clear hint by suggesting that Father Hullermann could
teach religion “at a girls’ school.”
On Jan. 9, Father Fahr prepared a summary of the situation for top
officials at the diocese, before their weekly meeting, saying that a young
chaplain needed “medical-psychotherapeutic treatment in Munich” and a place
to live with “an understanding colleague.” Beyond that, it presented the
priest from Essen in almost glowing terms, as a “very talented man, who
could be used in a variety of ways.”
Father Fahr’s role in the case has thus far received little attention, in
contrast to Father Gruber’s mea culpa.
Father Wolf, who is acting as the internal legal adviser on the Hullermann
case, said in an interview this week that Father Fahr was “the filter” of
all information concerning Father Hullermann. He was also, according to his
obituary on the archdiocese Web site, a close friend of Cardinal Ratzinger.
A key moment came on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1980. Cardinal Ratzinger presided
that morning over the meeting of the diocesan council. His auxiliary
bishops and department heads gathered in a conference room on the top floor
of the bishop’s administrative offices, housed in a former monastery on a
narrow lane in downtown Munich.
It was a busy day, with the deaths of five priests, the acquisition of a
piece of art and pastoral care in Vietnamese for recent immigrants among
the issues sharing the agenda with item 5d, the delicate matter of Father
Hullermann’s future.
The minutes of the meeting include no references to the actual discussion
that day, simply stating that a priest from Essen in need of psychiatric
treatment required room and board in a Munich congregation. “The request is
granted,” read the minutes, stipulating that Father Hullermann would live
at St. John the Baptist Church in the northern part of the city.
Church officials have their own special name for the language in meeting
minutes, which are internal but circulate among secretaries and other
diocese staff members, said Father Wolf, who has a digitized archive of
meeting minutes, including those for the Jan. 15 meeting. “It’s
protocol-speak,” he said. “Those who know what it’s about understand, and
those who don’t, don’t.”
Five days later, on Jan. 20, Cardinal Ratzinger’s office received a copy of
the memo from his vicar general, Father Gruber, returning Father Hullermann
to full duties, a spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed.
Father Hullermann resumed parish work practically on arrival in Munich, on
Feb. 1, 1980. He was convicted in 1986 of molesting boys at another
Bavarian parish.
This week, new accusations of sexual abuse emerged, both from his first
assignment in a parish near Essen, in northern Germany, and from 1998 in
the southern German town of Garching an der Alz.
Father Fahr died two years ago. A spokesman for the diocese in Essen said
that Father Malangré was not available for an interview. Father Malangré,
now 88, recently had an accident and was confused and unreliable as a
witness when questioned in an internal inquiry into the handling of Father
Hullermann’s case, said the spokesman, Ulrich Lota.
Father Gruber, who took responsibility for the decision to put Father
Hullermann back into a parish, was not present at the Jan. 15 meeting,
according to Father Wolf, and has not answered repeated interview requests.

Doctor Asserts Church Ignored Abuse Warnings
Published: March 18, 2010

ESSEN, Germany — The German archdiocese led by the future Pope Benedict XVI
ignored repeated warnings in the early 1980s by a psychiatrist treating a
priest accused of sexually abusing boys that he should not be allowed to
work with children, the psychiatrist said Thursday.
“I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working
with children,’ ” the psychiatrist, Dr. Werner Huth, said in a telephone
interview from Munich. “I was very unhappy about the entire story.”
Dr. Huth said he was concerned enough that he set three conditions for
treating the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann: that he stay away from
young people and alcohol and be supervised by another priest at all times.
Dr. Huth said he issued the explicit warnings — both written and oral —
before the future pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and
Freising, left Germany for a position in the Vatican in 1982.
In 1980, after abuse complaints from parents in Essen that the priest did
not deny, Archbishop Ratzinger approved a decision to move the priest to
Munich for therapy.
Despite the psychiatrist’s warnings, Father Hullermann was allowed to
return to parish work almost immediately after his therapy began,
interacting with children as well as adults. Less than five years later, he
was accused of molesting other boys, and in 1986 he was convicted of sexual
abuse in Bavaria.
Benedict’s deputy at the time, Vicar General Gerhard Gruber, said he was to
blame for that personnel decision, referring to what he called “serious
The psychiatrist said in an interview that he did not have any direct
communications with Archbishop Ratzinger and did not know whether or not
the archbishop knew about his warnings. Though he said he had spoken with
several senior church officials, Dr. Huth’s main contact at the time was a
bishop, Heinrich Graf von Soden-Fraunhofen, who died in 2000.
Even after his conviction in 1986, Father Hullermann, now 62, continued
working with altar boys for many years. He was suspended Monday for
ignoring a 2008 church order not to work with youths.
The former vicar general of the Munich archdiocese did not respond to
repeated attempts to contact him for comment at home. Phone calls to the
archdiocese for reaction on Thursday night were not answered. On Wednesday,
speaking generally about the question of Father Hullermann’s therapy, a
spokesman at the archdiocese, Bernd Oostenryck, said, “Thirty years ago,
the subject was treated very differently in society.”
“There was a tendency to say it could be therapeutically treated,” Mr.
Oostenryck said.
Father Hullermann was transferred in December 1977 to the St. Andreas
Church in Essen, an industrial city in the Ruhr region not far from where
he was born in Gelsenkirchen. The three sets of parents who complained to
the church said Father Hullermann had had “sexual relations” with their
children in February 1979, according to a statement this week by the
diocese in Essen.
In the minutes taken by the priest in charge of the parish at the meeting
with the parents, he noted that in order to protect their children they
“would not file charges under the current circumstances.”
For decades it was common practice in the church not to involve law
enforcement in sexual abuse cases. Vowing to change that, Bavarian bishops
called Thursday for strengthening the duty of church officials to report
cases of abuse, and even urged a change in German law requiring them to do
Spared prosecution after his transgressions in Essen, which according to
the statement released by the diocese he “did not dispute,” Father
Hullermann instead was ordered to undergo therapy with Dr. Huth. The
archdiocese said that order was personally approved by Archbishop
Dr. Huth said he had recommended one-on-one sessions, which Father
Hullermann refused. Instead the priest took part in group sessions, usually
seated in a circle with eight other patients, who had a mix of disorders,
including pedophilia. Dr. Huth, 80, said that Father Hullermann had
problems with alcohol, for which he prescribed medication, but that he was
“neither invested nor motivated” in his therapy.
“He did the therapy out of fear that he would lose his post” and a “fear of
punishment,” Dr. Huth said.
The psychiatrist, whom Father Hullermann had authorized to report to church
officials about his treatment on request, said he shared his concerns with
them frequently. He said the constraints he put on the priest — that he
stay away from children, not drink alcohol, and be accompanied and
supervised at all times by another priest — were enforced only
Not long after the therapy began, Father Hullermann returned to
unrestricted work with parishioners. Archbishop Ratzinger was still in
charge in Munich, but church officials have not said if the future pope was
kept up to date on the case.
After the future pope’s departure in 1982, Father Hullermann was moved in
September to a church in the nearby town of Grafing, where he also taught
religion at a local public school. Two years later, the police began
investigating him on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors.
The court commissioned another psychiatrist, Dr. Johannes Kemper, to
examine him and write an expert opinion for the 1986 trial. “Alcohol played
a big role,” said Dr. Kemper, 66, who had examined Father Hullermann in his
practice for half a day. As a prelude to sexual abuse, Dr. Kemper said, “he
drank, and then under the influence of alcohol he watched porn videos with
the youths.”
The prosecutor’s office in Munich confirmed Thursday that Father Hullermann
was convicted in 1986 of sexually abusing minors and distributing
pornographic images, according to a spokeswoman for the office, Andrea
Titz, and sentenced to a fine and five years of probation.
Little information is publicly available about the court proceedings. The
court file was sealed after Father Hullermann’s probationary period ended.
Dr. Kemper said that at the trial the victims waited outside the courtroom
and came in one at a time to testify. He did not remember exactly how many
victims there were, saying there were “between 5 and 10.”
The mayor of Garching an der Alz, where Father Hullermann worked for 21
years after his conviction, was sharply critical of the church Thursday for
failing to inform the community of the priest’s criminal record at the time
he was sent to work there, saying that they had been used “as guinea pigs.”
“Had we known, we definitely would have done something,” said Wolfgang
Reichenwallner, the mayor and a friend of Father Hullermann. “We just can’t
afford the risk that children in our community are put in harm’s way.”
“We got lucky that nothing seems to have happened,” Mr. Reichenwallner
According to the mayor and church officials, there have been no new
accusations of sexual abuse since Father Hullermann’s 1986 conviction.