Why are we not surprised that Ed Brayton too takes the side of a pedophile priest who in the early 80s requested a release from his celibacy vows after he had molested several children? Of course, his post doesn't mention that it was the priest who originally made the request, or that the issue of whether then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, should have granted his request had literally nothing to do with the criminal or ecclesiastical discipline of the priest or whether he has any contact with children.
Nor are we surprised that Brayton sides with the bishop in the case, who expresses in the letter his wish to get the case resolved so it won't result in bad publicity. At least Ratzinger was concerned about doing the right thing. So here is Brayton, charging Ratzinger with dragging his feet to avoid bad publicity (by citing an ambiguous comment which Ratzinger made well after the bad publicity had already come), while he himself was siding with the bishop who, in fact, had been trying to avoid bad publicity.
Brayton also repeats the Latin translation mistake made by the classics professor hired by the AP to translate the letter from Ratzinger he reprints on his site, which translates "Hoc dicasterium" as "this court." It is properly translated "this department," or "this agency." A "dicastery" in the Vatican is not a court. But translating it "court" has the benefit, I guess, of seeming to support Brayton's and other's misleading assumption that Ratzinger was dealing with an issue he wasn't even dealing with. The only thing Ratzinger at this time had control over was whether a priest could get out of his vows. He only got control over sex abuse cases in 2001.
Here is Brayton waxing ignorant on the subject:
Did I mention that this same priest molested another young girl later and was convicted for it and recently got out of prison for it?Yes he did. But did he mention too that that incident was done after he had been dismissed from his vows? No, he did not. And did he mention that in the documented letters from the diocese to Ratzinger the priest's crimes were not even mentioned (but referred to merely as "sexual improprieties") until three years into the correspondence? And that even then the bishop mischaracterized the 11-13 year olds as "young men"? Gee, he didn't do that either.
Then Brayton laughably uses the case, in which civil authorities destroyed evidence after the priest's probation, as grounds for the Church being more expeditious in handing these matters over to civil authorities! These were civil authorities (in California) who had imposed statutes of limitations in sexual abuse cases of from 3 to 5 years.
I guess we can take Brayton's confidence in the civil courts to mean that he supports the weak sentence the priest got from the California courts? A three year suspended sentence and then three year probation? In fact, it was this sentence that was communicated later to Ratzinger by the diocese. Given the weak sentence by the civil authorities of which Brayton is so enamored, exactly how serious was he supposed to think this crime was?
It's pretty clear that Brayton hasn't even read the documents in the case. But, hey, that hasn't stopped any other anti-Catholic bloggers from sharing their ignorance.