Over the weekend, it was discovered that Pope Benedict XVI, when he was still Cardinal Rat, obstructed justice by attempting to keep evidence of child sex abuse in the church secret. In 2001, he sent an order to every Catholic bishop, affirming the church’s right to hold its investigations in private and to keep the information confidential for 10 years, or until the victims were adults. Victims’ lawyers claim the move was to prevent involvement by the police. (Guardian Unlimited)
Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’. . . It orders that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.