New Developments in Decades Old Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Father Peter Hullerman, a German Catholic priest, was suspended Tuesday. He had been allowed to stay in a rectory to receive "therapy," after being accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy in 1980. The decision to finally suspend him came days after he returned from a camping trip with children.

It has caused a scandal for Pope Benedict XVI; he was the archbishop of Munich who allowed Father Hullerman to stay in the Church after the 1980 accusation. The Vatican is defending the Pope's reputation. David Willey, BBC correspondent in Rome, joins us to explain the scandal.

Guests:

David Willey

Comments [2]

Ed H. from Larchmont

When parishioners came in and confessed masturbation, homosexuailty, fornication, adultery, and finally abortion, did they throw them out in the street? No, they showed mercy. If they were repentent, they were forgiven. When they were presented with a priest who had abused a child, they could do nothing else but show mercy: to give them treatment for a condition people thought (at that time) was curable. And they returned them to parishes after doctors told them they were cured.

Mar. 17 2010 09:14 AM
Ed H. from Larchmont

The priest-- previously known only as "H" but not identified in a New York Times account as Peter Hullermann-- was a priest in the Essen diocese in 1980, when he was first accused of sexual misconduct. At the time then-Cardinal Ratzinger was Archbishop of Munich. The New York Times reports: "The future pope approved his transfer to Munich." That sentence is grossly misleading; the Times neglects to add the crucial fact that Cardinal Ratzinger approved the accused priest's entry into a counseling program in Munich; he did not approve him for a parish assignment.

As officials both in Munich and at the Vatican had previously explained, the vicar-general of the Munich archdiocese later allowed Father Hullerman to work in a parish. The vicar general has stated that he made this decision without the knowledge-- let alone approval-- of Cardinal Ratzinger.

Father Hullerman was given a parish assignment in September 1982-- 7 months after Cardinal Ratzinger resigned his post as Archbishop of Munich, having taken up his new responsibilities as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Mar. 17 2010 09:02 AM

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