In a lengthy response to my earlier post “The Buck Stops …..Way Over There”, a reader (“Marie”) has posted a comment taken from a Reuters report which provides an account of the Vatican explanation. As I do not believe that a comments thread is the right place for lengthy pieces, I have instead copied it here.
The thrust of the defence appears to be that it is wrong to treat this as protecting a child molester, as the case concerned a simple request to leave the priesthood. The Vatican claims that it is this that was “scandalous”, and was resisted. I don’t think the facts are in dispute how – just the interpretation. I fail to see why a request from a convicted child molester to leave the priesthood is somehow more “scandalous” to the reputation on the church than a decision to leave him in he priesthood, where he cold conceivably do more harm, against his wishes and the judgement of his local bishop. The Vatican has once again missed the point entirely: the issue here is not about disciplining a priest, nor is it about the supposed scandal of a man wishing to leave the priesthood. The fundamental point, which is entirely missing in both Ratzinger’s letter of 1985 and the current “defence”, should have been that of the safety of the children. It now becomes clearer than ever that this safety has never been the first concern of the Vatican as in institution, nor of Joseph Ratzinger the man.
This is Marie’s contribution:
A new report by Reuters says that this Ratzinger letter was in response to a simple request by Keisle to leave the priesthood.
A request to leave the priesthood is a scandal, yes, especially coming from a 38-year-old priest, and therefore the recommendation that the priest be given “paternal care” while the case is pending.