Catholic Child Abuse – How Cardinal Ratzinger Protected Paedophile Priests

By Rosa Rubicondior | 21 January 2022
Rosa Rubicondior Blog

Pope Benedict XVI knew about priests who abused children but failed to act when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, an inquest has found, rejecting Benedict’s long-standing denials in a damning judgment. (Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the predecessor of Pope Francis and the first pope for centuries to resign, knew of the abuse of children by Catholic priests in his diocese when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

This is the devastating finding of an enquiry, commissioned by the Catholic Church, into historic sexual abuse at the Munich Archdiocese over several decades. In effect, this finding accuses Pope Benedict XVI of lying when he denied any knowledge of the abuses.

Lawyer, Ulrich Wastl, produced a copy of the minutes of a meeting of Church leaders in Munich on January 15, 1980, when a decision was taken to appoint a known abuser (referred to in the report as “Priest X”). Pope Benedict denied being present when this decision was made, but this is contradicted by the minutes of the meeting. Benedict’s incredible response to this evidence of his lies was that the document is only proof that something was written down, not evidence that he read it. However, the charge is not that he read the minutes but that he was present when the decision was made to appoint a known paedophile priest in the diocese of which he was head.

In 2019, the then former Pope, Benedict XVI wrote an essay in which he sought the shift the blame for the paedophile priest scandals which have rocked the Catholic Church, away from the priests and the Church and onto society at large and liberals in particular by claiming it was the result of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of the Church’s moral teaching. He also blamed homosexuals whom he claimed had established cliques in seminaries which significantly changed the climate in the seminaries. In other words, it wasn’t the fault of senior clerics such as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who turned a blind eye to the abuses and allowed abusers to continue their abuses under the protection of the Church, but the fault of those high in the Catholic Church’s demonology, ‘liberals and homosexuals’.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he was effectively Pope John Paul II’s deputy and enforcer and was widely believed to be behind efforts to suppress reports of clerical abuse of minors in an effort to protect the reputation of the church and minimise compensation paid to its victims.

According to this article:

Ratzinger took the then-revolutionary decision in 2001 to assume responsibility for processing abuse cases after he realized bishops around the world weren’t punishing abusers but were just moving them from parish to parish and enabling them to rape again.

That decision, however, came after Ratzinger was still sitting on cases at the Vatican. Years ago documentation emerged showing that Ratzinger in 1985 dithered on a case of a convicted child molester in California who asked to be defrocked, delaying any action for two years.

The case of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle was evidence that the Vatican under St. John Paul II strongly resisted letting priests leave active ministry, even if they were convicted rapists.

And, according to this report, when Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Ratzinger had a ‘close relationship’ with a convicted paedophile, Peter H, who described Ratzinger as “standing at my door”:

At the time, the congregation did not know that Priest H. was being watched by the Church – or that he was a convicted sex offender. After being transferred from Essen to Bavaria in the early 1980s, the Church ordered him to undergo psychological treatment. “H. was not capable of individual therapy due to his personality structure, only group therapy was possible”, describes Dr. Huth, adding that H. “considered himself a victim, above all”… Dr. Huth, with whom H. attended therapy sessions, alerted Church leadership at the time and, according his statement, informed Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich von Soden-Fraunhofen that the priest was dangerous.

A few years later, in 1984, an official court case was brought against H. for the first time. It was filed by parents in the Bavarian town of Grafing. Accordingly, the prosecutor’s office investigated H.’s sexual abuse of 12 boys in just one year, which the spokesman of the diocese confirms today. According to his own statement, H. explained the situation to Auxiliary Bishop von Soden-Fraunhofen. The Church reacted: during the investigation, the priest was briefly transferred to administrative tasks and then to Caritas, a Catholic organisation for relief and social work.

Dr. Huth established three rules for H. during therapy: First, he was not allowed to work with boys. Second, he was not allowed to drink alcohol. Third, he must be under supervision. “It didn’t require any medical expertise to do this,” said Dr. Huth. They are the usual precautionary measures, something that goes without saying. Dr. Huth still practices in Munich. But H. obviously did not follow those rules, and a court in Ebersberg sentenced him to 18 months’ probation and a fine. With that, the state considered matters closed.

Then, despite the psychiatrist’s warning, the Church reassigned H. to parish work and transferred him to Garching. The congregation knew nothing about the clergyman’s criminal past. And again, H. was surrounded by children.


But there’s more to the story. Dr. Huth told CORRECTIV that von Soden-Fraunhofen had said he would take care of H. after moving and was in “contact with Ratzinger”. The psychiatrist assumed that the auxiliary bishop would follow through on supervising the priest. When he later learned that H. was still in contact with children, he said that he was “appalled”. He could only explain this as “self-delusion”.

As a former Nazi Party and Hitler Youth member, Ratzinger’s election as Pope was put down to the power he had amassed during Pope John Paul II’ dotage when he effectively acted as Pope. As the paedophile priest scandals widened and diocese after diocese went bankrupt to avoid paying the vast sums being awarded to victims in compensation claims, so Ratzinger’s roll in the suppression and resulting cover-ups came more and more under scrutiny, until, still denying any knowledge of the abuses or their cover-up, he became the first Pope in recent history to resign, citing ‘hard questions of faith’. As an amusing aside, this came just two days after I sent a link on his @Pontifex Twitter account, to my blog post, Hard Questions for Christians, and after the blog’s log showed that it had been accesses from within the Vatican City.

Pope Benedict XVI, now 94, rarely leaves his rooms in a monastery on a hill in the Vatican City. Speaking on his behalf, his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, said Pope Benedict “expresses his pain and shame for the abuses of minors committed by priests [and] manifests his personal closeness and his prayers for all the victims, some of whom he met with during his apostolic trips.” He also explained that Benedict had not yet had time to study the over 1000-page document.

Rosa Rubicondior (a pseudonym) is a retired data analyst, biologist, blogger, author and atheist.

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI knew about sexual abuse as archbishop of Munich, report says

New report exposes former pope’s inaction on child sexual abuse

Abuse in the Catholic Church | DW Documentary

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