March 26th, 2010
08:46 AM ET

German archdiocese disputes pope story

The Catholic archdiocese in Munich, Germany, strongly denied a report Friday that said Pope Benedict XVI was aware that a priest convicted of abusing minors had returned to pastoral work.

A spokesman for the archdiocese, Bernhard Kellner, said the article published in The New York Times consists of incorrect and old information.

The article said the pope, who was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and archbishop in Munich, was copied on a memo informing him that the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, would return to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment for pedophilia.

Kellner said between 700 and 1,000 memos go to the archbishop each year, making it highly unlikely that Ratzinger would have read the memo mentioned in the Times. Kellner said neither he nor the Times has the memo, and he doesn't know whether it still exists.

- CNN's Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Germany • Vatican • World
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. oneway thinking

    For more than a 1000 years, the Catholic church has been perfecting the acts of deceit and subterfuge. I would have been disappointed if the pope had see such an 'unimportant' memo as against the important ones like who was coming to church and declining membership...

    March 26, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Charles Schwend

    U.S.-Israeli relations are strained over a dispute about housing plans in East Jerusalem...The UN is NOT Israel and need to back off on judging them or telling them how to run their country. Jerusalem is Israel...not Palistine....I am a 55 year old Christain with a daily practice of reading the BIBLE, a book this great country was founded on....but is poorly hanging on to as the "standard" to live by.
    The God of Israel is the only true God and He made it very clear to the world through His divine scriptures that Jerusalem and all of Israel, the "Good Land" was for the 12 tribes of Israel, the sons of Jacob. They did go in and possess it only to have lost it. But in 1948 the return of the Israelis possessing "their land" was huge and unforseen by the majority of people on the earth.
    Mr Netanyahu is on course to secure Israel's one from the US or the UN have a right to tell him what to do...but rather working together with him will be best for the region's interests.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sean

    Good to know that the Archbishop of Munchen is too busy to read the 700 to 1000 memos that are sent to him each year...I have a calculator here...let's explore this.

    1000 divided by 12 months = 83.33 memos per month
    83.33 memos per month divided by 20 work days = 4.16 memos per day at 20 days per month.

    The guy who would become the Pope was too busy to read 4 memos per day when he was Archbishop? And some of the other memos almost certainly pertained to important topics like this one?

    People take the time to compose memos to him knowing that he is important and that his time is valuable and the ___________ (insert nasty description) cannot be bothered with reading them?

    March 26, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. angelika bertrand

    I feel that the Catholic church goers. ought to dump the Catholic church for good. what a bunch of hypocritical bulshitters. I dislike the German pope. John Paul had courage. But this smag is beyond him self. They are just kilt, dressing phony bunches of pedhophiling priests and bishops all together. I hope when the really see God in heaven, that they will all burn in hell.

    To Charles Schwen, I think your information does not have anything to do with this article!

    March 26, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Caravello

    In other words: CNN must agree with my COMMENT or it will not be posted.

    Oh I know you will have a canned retort to my COMMENT. You people should read George Orwell's 1984 and note esp. his THOUGHT POLICE.

    Have a nice day.


    March 26, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anne

    So he got 700 to 1000 emails a year? That is 2-3 per day. I get that many in 30minutes at work and somehow manage to read them and do my work. I get way more than that a day in my personal email and am sure most people do. That is some pretty poor excuse!!!

    March 26, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. ER

    re: Israel, the White House's grandstanding offence at building in Jerusalem is actually little more than political show for the sake of the Arab countries. Yes, Netanyahu's timing was bad. Yes, he can act like a jerk. This is hardly new. But the more feigned outrage over what is a zoning issue the more he will be supported in Israel. When the Palistenians seemed willing to negotiate in good will, Netanyahu was marginalized politically. When Hamas starting firing rockets and rachets up the retoric then hard-liners like Bibi will have more influence. Keep in mind for all the "outrage", Israel is the US' intelligence eyes and ears and line of defence in the US. Anyone who goes with the line that the US should let Israel go on its own, simply knows nothing of how that part of the world works.

    March 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    For 2000 years the Catholic Church has been perfecting its theology and its means of sanctifying its members through the Liturgy and the Sacraments. And for 2000 years the enemies of the Church from within and without have been attempting to destroy her. But Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. Satan will always save his more horrific evil to target where the most good is coming from. The majority of Popes, bishops and priests have been working for the good of the Church and for the salvation of the world. As in any organization, Satan knows that a few well-placed truly evil people can do massive damage to the whole structure. Sexual sins of all kinds can destroy lives, families, churches, careers and Faith. History has shown this all too well. The Church needs to step up and confront this evil as soon as it is evidenced anywhere to snuff it out and protect the victims. As with any sin, the longer it is allowed to go unchecked, the worse it gets and the more damage, both direct and collateral, it causes. Look at political leaders who hide and deny their affairs, only to lose everything in the end. There is nothing special about the Catholic Church in trying to cover up sin – Adam and Eve started that when they tried to hide from God after the Original Sin. But Christ wants all things brought to light. And that's what's happening now. Much too late for the victims, but good news for future generations. Jesus will always set things straight in His Church.

    March 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul Chang

    The article has good information, but many of the bloggers have bias against the Church and the Pope. It is amazing that the allegations against the Church and Pope come from a permissive and anarchic world, where violence and sexual freedom have emerged as a right.

    March 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary Ann

    Great post, Mark.

    We've had sinners from the beginning, starting with Judas. It's amazing how the media are dragging up these old cases.

    Boy, yall are really mad at the Catholic Church for fighting against Obamacare, right?

    That's fine. We have a new generation of Catholics that isn't going to throw the fight like our fathers did over abortion.

    March 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FrRon

    Is it just me or should the title read "Archdiocese disputes CNNs story"? Its almost as if they want people to read "Archdiocese disputes Pope'S story."

    In a world were we are willing to forgive or ignore every sexual sin its quite funny that people want to condemn the Pope for a decision that no one has even suggested was made with malice or evil intent. I mean just because the Church teaches you shouldn't choose evil must she be condemned even for mistakes? Or in the case of the Milwaukee priest for being merciful to a dying man? I mean really, what if it were a gay or adulterous priest who the Pope gave a 6 month pass to so that he could die in peace? Granted the abuse of children may indeed be objectively worse than these other sins, but what is at issue in the Milwaukee situation is not a matter of the priest being a danger to children. In the German situation this was a risk but still was there any malice or willful negligence?

    I personally don't think it matters whether he knew or didn't know. I take him at his word–that he never really knew about the situation. I mean the poor man is a Cardinal of the Church dealing with dozens of letters, and reports, and appointments each day and travelling all over God's world to teach the Gospel and everyone wants to condemn him for receiving a memo. A memo about a man under the treatment of doctors for a sin which the science of the day believed could be cured.

    Let me tell you folks, people who exercise public authority get thousands of pieces of paper thrown at them each week. Most of these pieces of paper end up in the hands of advisors and many of them, the routine ones, end up in files, I know this because I used to put those pieces of papers in the files for a number of the most powerful senators on capitol hill. This is simply the reality of public life! One writer estimated that 1000 memos is only 4.2 a day if He worked 5 days a week. The reality of the mater is that He probably worked 6.2 days per week for more than just the standard 9-5 bankers hours and he was probably our of his office a large portion of this time. When he sat down to his desk I bet he found a few weeks worth of those memo together with countless letters, theological treatises, reports, contracts, etc. etc.. Not to mention that he is a priest and ought to pray a little, one would think!

    Give the man a break. Hold him up to a high standard by all means but not to a superhuman standard because we only have one Savior.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Pat Irene

    I wonder if the Pope knows what the Bible REALLY teaches. He may know, but just like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, he certainly wouldn't want to give up his special recognition and admit that a clergy class shouldn't even be a part of true Christianity.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. p41

    If the catholic church is so wonderful, why do they hide behind "International Law" to prevent them from being tried for crimes against humanity? The fact that the U.S. does not revoke that priviledge is beyond any sound reasoning. The persons involved in molesting children should no less, recieve death... For reason, the perpetrators have already taken the child life: in the form of their innoscence, self respect, dignity, their very lives have been destroyed, due to this sickness; this cancer; this abominable practice that has gone on for far too long in this world! Stop trying to sugar-kote, and play down this trajic action by a person put in trust over our children! Whether your catholic or any other religion, you dont reflect what that person has done. So, stop defending the person through your religion, and castrate such behaviour from society.

    March 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Ann

    I agree with Fr Ron.

    Enough of this silly trying to pin the tale on Benedict already.

    Enough of this dredging up of old stories.

    Focus on the abuse that is happening NOW in the public schools, which has been proven to many times more prevalent than in Catholic institutions.

    March 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Godisdead

    If you are still Catholic after this latest charge of sexual abuse and torture by clergy is fully revealed, you are complicit. Leave the church if the pope does not resign.

    March 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
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