March 26, 2010

Ratzo the Pope in Modified Limited Hang-Out Mode

It's great to use those timeless phrases from the Watergate era. Where would be without them? Without the whole "-gate" industry, for one thing. The barren imaginations of regular journalists just keep recycling that "gate" ending in less and less euphonious ways. Irangate, WMD-gate, Wide Stance-gate. But "what did he know, and when did he know it?", "cancer growing on the..." whatever, "twisting slowly in the wind," and Nixon's decision, instead of telling the truth, to engage in a "modified limited hang-out" gave birth to a classic, still used today, like all these slogans from the Golden Age of American scandal.

Also, "the coverup's worse than the crime," currently a problem for His Eminence, Pope Ratzo of the Catholic Church. The Pope's problems stem from yet another pedophile on the payroll, this one Father Peter Hullerman, a German who messed with boys up around Essen, in northern Germany, then was reassigned to Munich, where Ratzinger was Cardinal, and began diddling boys all over again, finally leading to his prosecution and imprisonment in 1986. The New York Times has been all over this story, focusing attention on a 1980 memo which was sent to Ratzinger's attention, among others (including his main aide, Gerhard Gruber), concerning the decision to reassign Hullerman from Essen, where the heat was on, to Munich, where he would have a supply of frische Jungen. Gruber has taken one for the Papist team by insisting that Ratzinger was not personally involved in the usual hide-and-relocate m.o. of the Catholic Church in dealing with its many perverts, although the documentary evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Anyway, whether they can fend off the Pope's complicity in the actual decision to move Hullerman into duties involving contact with young boys (while undergoing therapy to "cure" his pedophilia), there doesn't seem to be much doubt, because of the 1980 memo, that Ratzo was at least aware that Hullerman was in his archdiocese in situations posing risks for Bavarian boys. As proved the case when Hullerman was busted six years later. And it's very reasonable to assume that the Pope is being insulated from his real involvement by bureaucratic layering, much as John Dean tried to do, for a while, in insulating Nixon from Watergategate.

Since I'm not religious, I tend to look at the Catholic Church as simply a business providing employment and career opportunities, and increasingly as a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO). Ratzo's the Godfather, the capo di tutti capi, and one of his business lines, offering salaried gigs to pedophiles, is crushing the church's P&L, especially since this practice, like everything else these days, has undergone globalization. It's getting ridiculously expensive to keep buying up all these molestation claims. The Catholic Church's "Fresh Start for Diddlers Program," exemplified in Hullerman's case, has caused not only life-long misery for many victims, but has extended the reach, so to speak, of the many perverts working in the Catholic Church. Once discovered in one parish, they have traditionally been moved to a new groping ground, where the outrages start all over again, which should be no surprise to anyone. Hasn't Ratzinger ever heard the old cliche, wherever I go, there I am?

On "Real Time" last week, Bill Maher was weighing in on all of this and immediately concluded that it is the celibacy requirement which gives rise to all the mischief. I'm not quite sure I follow his logic. It might be the case that closeted homosexuals would be attracted to employment in an organization with a celibacy cover story, since this peculiar requirement supposedly ends all questions about how the employees are getting off, as well as providing a work environment with lots of other men who like wearing bright robes and fancy dress. But Maher's criticism presupposes by two-step logic, I think, that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles, and there is really no evidence for this at all (although it's used as part of the Right Wing agenda against homosexual teachers). If that isn't what Maher means, then what does he see as the connection between a formal celibacy requirement and pedophilia? I don't see it. If he means that sexual frustration leads to pedophilia, he's just dead wrong, and anyway there are always the other priests (and the nuns, for the other persuasion).

It makes more sense that the Catholic Church's reputation has preceded it; that's the answer, I think. Pedophiles get something in the Catholic Church that's hard to come by (all these phrases seem slightly off today) in normal employment for pervs who want access to illegally young bodies. Three hots, a cot, and rooms full of altar boys, plus parochial schools where there are more boys and even girls. The priest has authoritative power over these youngsters which he can abuse to his heart's delight, but he has something you just can't get from a public school or other places where pervs go a-hunting: an employer who will hide your crimes, move you to a new locale and set you up with a new batch of victims. Talk about writing your own ticket!

So it's probable that Ratzo was just following the corporate manual back in 1980, but it's become very inconvenient to admit that's the way things were done. It gives rise now, in these sad times when the Catholic Church has been pilloried as a den of pederasts, to a legal notion known as "ratification" of outrageous conduct, which, if it leads to punitive damages and extends all the way to the coffers of Vatican City (because even the Pope is involved), could spell Game Over for the boys in red.

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