Future Pope Got Memo on Pedophile Priest

Church claimed deputy was responsible in German abuse case

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 25, 2010 10:00 PM CDT | Updated Mar 26, 2010 5:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Joseph Ratzinger, who now heads the Roman Catholic church as Pope Benedict XVI, was told in a 1980 memo that a pedophile priest would return to pastoral work in Germany—and, as archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved the decision that allowed the Rev. Peter Hullermann not only back into the community but to avoid prosecution, the New York Times reports.

The archdiocese said earlier this month that a Ratzinger deputy was behind the decision, but the future pope was copied on the memo, and priests who were closely involved in the process could not confirm that Ratzinger did not read the memo. And indeed, the church noted that the personnel chief handling the case “always remained personally, exceptionally connected” to Ratzinger.

Pope Benedict XVI leaves a youth gathering at the Vatican today.
Pope Benedict XVI leaves a youth gathering at the Vatican today.   (AP Photo)
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In his first public address since apologizing to victims of child sex abuse by clergy in Ireland, Pope Benedict called for leniency and compassion as he delivered his weekly blessing to an audience at the Vatican. Sarah Irwin reports.   (Reuters News)

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