Vatican City, Apr 3, 2010 / 10:40 am
Vatican Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, has issued a statement regarding a story released on Holy Saturday by the Associated Press as “breaking news,” implying that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, failed to act promptly in the case of Rev. Michael Teta of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona.
The Associated Press wrote that documents it reviewed show “members of a church tribunal found that the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson (sic), Ariz., had molested children and deemed his behavior — including allegations that he abused boys in a confessional — almost ‘satanic.’ The tribunal referred his case to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope in 2005. But it took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take.”
“As abuse cases with the pontiff's fingerprints mushroom, Teta's case and that of another Arizona priest cast further doubt on the church's insistence that the future pope played no role in shielding pedophiles,” the AP reported, without confirming the information with the Vatican press office.
In his response to the AP and a similar story published in the Arizona Daily Star, Fr. Lombardi said that “much of the reporting has been misleading;” and explained that “the Diocese of Tucson contacted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the case, because it regarded the canonical crime of solicitation in the confessional.”