Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tootsie Roll Pope: Benedict's Signature Delayed Defrocking of Convicted Pedophile-Priest in Oakland

     There are certain questions that seem unanswerable.  For example, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?"  The old candy commercial claimed that no know could answer this question, because the patience required to lick one's way through the impenetrable, unrewarding shell of the lollipop was not enough to resist the urge to go for the rapid, crunchy chomp releasing the creamy chocolate center.

     How many pedophile-priests does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pope?

     For eight years of major litigation and news coverage of the clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, this has been the Holy Grail of questions.  No one answered this question, too distracted they were by the likes of Father James Porter and Father John Geoghan, but this past month that has changed. 

     Pope Benedict XVI and (future saint) Pope John Paul II have both been tied to the mishandling of sexual abuse cases, ignoring letters from bishops begging to defrock known pedophile priests (including Father Lawrence Murphy, who put Porter and Geoghan to shame, abusing 200 victims), and delaying, in some cases refusing, the defrocking of abusive priests.

     The Vatican has defended the pope, then-Archbishop and then-Cardinal Ratzinger, saying that the cover-up and mishandling was the fault of his underlings to whom he'd delegated his power.  Critics have responded saying there's no way this is possible, especially in the cases in Munich and Wisconsin.   Besides, you can delegate power, but not responsibility.

     There is no more mystery.  The popemobile of a Tootsie Roll Pop shell that has been protecting the pope for a decade has eroded away to nothing under the the persistent licking of news reporters, prosecution attorneys, and outraged victim-survivors. 

     There is only a signature.
     The caption of the New York Times article containing this photo by Kim Johnson of the Associated Press states:  "A 1985 letter, written in Latin, to the Diocese of Oakland signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  The letter said that a California priest accused of mosteling children should not be defrocked without further study."

    The New York Times reports:
Bishop Cummins [of Oakland] had first petitioned the doctrinal office to defrock Mr. Kiesle in 1981. He also wrote directly to Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Ratzinger requested more information, which officials in the Oakland Diocese supplied in February 1982. They did not hear back from Cardinal Ratzinger until 1985, when he sent the letter in Latin suggesting that his office needed more time to evaluate the case.
     The Rev. George Mockel, a diocesan official in Oakland, wrote in a memo to Bishop Cummins: “Basically they are going to sit on it until Steve gets quite a bit older. My own feeling is that this is unfortunate.”
     Mr. Kiesle was finally defrocked in 1987.   Mr. Kiesle was convicted for the first time of child molesting in 1978, just six years after he was ordained. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct while he was a pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City, Calif.
     If Kiesle was convicted in 1978 and  pleaded no contest, then why did he continue to work with children (after he chose to leave the priesthood and asked to be defrocked) in the Catholic Church for years to come by volunteering  in youth ministry at his previous parishes (even after he was finally defrocked)? 
     Maurine Behrend, a former employee in the diocese’s youth ministry office, recalled encountering Mr. Kiesle at a Youth Day in April 1988 and learning from another minister that Mr. Kiesle had been convicted of molestation. Ms. Behrend alerted the head of the youth ministry office and personally warned Bishop Cummins two weeks later.  In May 1988, she wrote an outraged letter to a church official, demanding to know why “a convicted child molester is currently the youth ministry coordinator at St. Joseph’s parish in Pinole.”
     As for Rev. Mockel's response that the Vatican would do nothing to defrock Kiesle until he was older, this is typical Vatican "reasoning" in the laicization of priests.  They don't want to laicize a young man, who then changes his mind and wants to come back to the priesthood, after his heart is broken by the Eve that lured him out of the priesthood with her apples.  Also, the Vatican waits until young ex-priests are in their forties and past what the celibate autocrats running the church deem to be child-bearing age, in order to punish them.  They can't be married in the church until they are laicized, and thus will be living in sin or married outside of the church to their hussy Eves and therefore cut off from the life giving bread and saving cup of the eucharistic table.  Shame!  Shame!  The problem is that neither of these two reasons makes sense when it comes to pedophile-priests, but who said the Vatican was logical?  Definitely not Galileo.

     Here is the outline of the paper trail unearthed by the Times, which shows numerous letters that were sent to the Vatican starting in 1981.  Father Kiesle was not defrocked until 1987.  Click here to read the documents in their entirety.
Documents detailing efforts begun in the early 1980s by officials of the Catholic Church in California to support the petition of a convicted sex offender, the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, to leave the priesthood.
April 25, 1981: The Rev. Louis Dabovich, pastor of a parish where Father Kiesle had worked as a deacon, writes the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith supporting Father Kiesle's petition to leave the priesthood.p. 1
May 8, 1981: Father Kiesle's pastor, The Rev. George E. Crespin, writes to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Father Kiesle's case.p. 3
June 19, 1981: Bishop John S. Cummins petitioned Pope John Paul II to laicize Father Stephen Kiesle because of repeated sexual offenses and the priest's own request.p. 5
Nov. 17, 1981: Response to Bishop Cummins From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (in Latin).p. 7
Feb. 1, 1982: Bishop Cummins writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, supplying additional information about Father Kiesle and telling the cardinal: "There might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry."p. 8
Sept. 24, 1982: The Rev. George E. Mockel of the Diocese of Oakland asks Cardinal Ratzinger about the status of Father Kiesle's petition.p. 9
Dec. 20, 1983: Father Mockel writes to Bishop John Cummins about the Vatican's curt reply to his inquiry, saying that Vatican officials never respond to " 'mere priests'!"p. 10
Jan. 17, 1984: Bishop John Cummins of the Oakland Diocese writes to Cardinal Ratzinger to inquire on the status of Father Kiesle's case and that of another priest.p. 11
Sept. 13, 1985: Bishop Cummins again follows up with Cardinal Ratzinger on the status of Father Kiesle's case.p. 12
Sept. 27, 1985: Father Mockel of the Oakland Diocese asks the apostolic delegate in Washington, D.C., to forward a letter to Cardinal Ratzinger regarding Father Kiesle's laicization case.p. 14
Expand Nov. 6, 1985: Cardinal Ratzinger responds to the Oakland Diocese's inquiries about Father Kiesle. (in Latin) p. 15
Translation of Cardinal Ratzinger's Letter p.15
Dec. 12, 1985: Father Mockel writes to Bishop Cummins, saying that his reading of Cardinal Ratzinger's reply to Father Keisle's case is that "they are going to sit on it until Steve gets quite a bit older."p. 16
Jan. 13, 1986: Father Mockel writes to Father Keisle, telling him that the Vatican is concerned that granting his request for laicization could "provoke some scandal among the faithful."p. 17
May 11, 1988: Maurine Behrend, in the Oakland Diocese's Youth Ministries Office, writes a letter expressing her frustration that "a convicted child molester is currently the youth ministry coordinator at St. Joseph's Parish." p. 18
     How many licks does it take to get to the center of a
Tootsie Roll Pope?

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