Andrew Sullivan writes:
Benedict XVI knew all of this. To his credit, he was clearly troubled by it, and never accepted its compromising money. But given the authority to pursue Maciel in 2001, Ratzinger held off for four years until Maciel’s protector, John Paul II, was incapacitated and near death. Which means to say: Ratzinger knew what had gone on, and allowed a clear molester and bigamist to remain a pillar of John Paul II’s church for years.
To which E.D. Kain responds:
I think it is far more likely that Ratzinger acted as quickly and as prudently as he could given the many obstacles preventing any swift action against Maciel. Some things simply take time, especially in an organization such as the Church, and with the sort of protections afforded Maciel by John Paul II under the influence of his advisors. Far from a reason to continue to call for Benedict’s resignation, this information should illuminate just how thankful we should all be that Ratzinger became pope. Indeed, many resignations are in order, but Benedict’s is not one of them.)
I've wondered how Pope John Paul II who seemed like a pretty hard-line, straight-shooter to me, would have covered up for Fr. Maciel. Do we know for sure he had a complete understanding of the facts? A lot of new information has emerged in just the past few years. If it is fair to say, as Kain does, "Ratzinger acted as quickly and as prudently as he could given the many obstacles preventing any swift action against Maciel. Some things simply take time, especially in an organization such as the Church..." why can we not apply the same reasoning to John Paul II's apparent lack of action?
Did Fr. Maciel's friends in high places help keep the information from the Holy Father? Did Cardinal Ratzinger discuss what he knew with John Paul - and, if he did, did John Paul refuse to act? Or had he figured out a "more prudent way" to act - by agreeing to hand off the problem to his successor? I'd like to have a better understanding of this before joining those who would throw JP II under the bus.