A Priest in California was put on Probation for abusing boys in Oakland. Because, at the time it was thought this disorder was curable, his Bishop allowed him to volunteer with youth ministry despite being suspended from clerical duties.
This priest then asked to be dispensed from the cerical state which would remove the promise of celibacy, thus removing a restraint.
At that time however, b/c so many priests were being dispensed from a lifelong promise of celibacy and priesthood, many married people were wondering why priests could be dispensed from their lifelong vows while they could not.
So as Pope John Paul II took over, dispensations from the clerical state were reduced to nearly zero. It was at this time that the Oakland Priest asked for a dispensation. This was his request it was not a punishment. His request was delayed as per Vatican policy of reducing the granting of these requests. All power and responsibility for protecting the faithful in the diocese of Oakland resided in its bishop. This was not the responsibility of the Vatican or Cardinal Ratzinger. Below is a synopis of the case from Fr. Z’s website linked above.
From Father Z’s blog What Does the Prayer Really Say
Some bullet points about the California case with which APs and others continue to try to smear Pope Benedict.
1.At the time, the CDF did not have competence in the cases of clerical pedophilia.
2.The case before the CDF concerned a request by a priest for a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state.
3.It was not a punitive case or an appeal about a sanction.
4.The request was submitted by the priest and not the priest’s diocese of Oakland.
5.The CDF didn’t not grant immediate dispensations to men who were not at least 40 years old.
6.Once the CDF studied the case and the priest reached 40 years of age, the dispensation was granted.
There was no cover up.
7.If the Diocese of Oakland was pressing the Holy See to dispense this man so quickly, why did that same Diocese of Oakland permit the suspended priest to work as a volunteer with young people? The Holy See had nothing to do with that.
8.The AP and now all other MSM outlets who without hesitation or verification pick up the AP’s sloppy work, never bother to do background and ask basic questions about procedures and timing. They fail in the basics of curiosity, much less journalistic professionalism.
Why are they trying to smear Pope Benedict?
To shut him up or to cast into doubt what he has said and what he will say concerning moral issues.
For more information see Fr. Fessios article here–Let’s Get the Story Straight