A problem of mindset
Cardinal Ratzinger was faced with a further problem, perhaps the most serious and difficult to unhinge, namely a mentality that, consciously or not, believed that the priest could not commit these acts. This was also recalled by the Supreme Pontiff Francis, during the press conference on his flight back from his apostolic trip to Abu Dhabi in 2019. The Pope recounted an episode that highlights Joseph Ratzinger’s desire to combat this scourge.
“C’è un aneddoto, reports Pope Francis, lui aveva tutte le carte, tutti i documenti, su una organizzazione religiosa che aveva corruzione al suo interno, sessuale ed economica. Lui [da Cardinale] andava e c’erano dei filtri, e non poteva arrivare. Alla fine, il Papa [Giovanni Paolo II], con l’intento di capire la verità, ha fatto una riunione, e Joseph Ratzinger è andato lì con la cartella e tutte le sue carte. E quando è tornato ha detto al suo segretario: “Mettila nell’archivio, ha vinto l’altra parte”. Noi non dobbiamo scandalizzarci per questo, sono passi di un processo. Ma poi, diventato Papa, la prima cosa che ha detto è stata: “Portami dall’archivio quelle carte”, e ha incominciato…”
[“There is an anecdote, Cardinal Ratzinger had all the papers, all the documents, about a religious organisation that had corruption within it, sexual and economic.
He [as a Cardinal] asked for measures but there were filters, and he couldn’t get them. In the end, the Pope [John Paul II], with the intention of understanding the truth, had a meeting, and Joseph Ratzinger went there with the folder and all his evidence. And when he came back he said to his secretary: “Put it in the archive, the other side won”. We should not be scandalised by this, they are steps in a process. But then, when he became Pope, the first thing he said was: “Bring me those papers from the archives”, and he started to work”.]