Abusive priest reassigned in Pope's former diocese

The spiraling child sex abuse in the European Catholic church keeps getting closer and closer to Pope Benedict XVI himself:

The man, identified only as H., was allowed to stay in a vicarage while undergoing therapy — a decision in which then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger was involved, the statement said. It said officials believe it was known the therapy was related to suspected "sexual relations with boys." However, it says a lower-ranking official — vicar general Gerhard Gruber — then allowed him to help in pastoral work in Munich.

The archdiocese says there were no accusations against the chaplain relating to his February 1980 to August 1982 spell in Munich. However, he was convicted of sexually abusing minors during a stint in nearby Grafing between September 1982 and 1985.

The church continues to maintain that Benedict was unaware of the decision to reassign the priest: 

Gruber told The Associated Press by telephone Friday that he was in sole charge of staffing decisions. "Personnel matters were delegated," Gruber said. "I decided that on my own."

Gruber also said Benedict would not have been aware of his decision because the case load was too big. "You have to know that we had some 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time," Gruber said. "The cardinal could not deal with everything, he had to rely on his vicar general."

Gruber's statement nominally protects Benedict but also implies that the reassigning of a priest suspected of sexually molesting children was such a non-issue that if fell under the general category of "personnel matters" to be handled by a lower-ranking official. It also implies that Benedict knew about the priest's case but didn't consider it worth following up. 

In any event, even if Benedict had no idea what was happening, he should still take responsibility for the decisions of subordinates under his command. If it's true for the CEO of Toyota, it should at least be true for the spiritual leader of millions of people.

Sex abuse scandals have rocked the catholic communities in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland in recent months. Patsy Mcgarry of the Irish Times wrote recently for FP about how this has undermined Catholic institutions in Ireland. 


Indian minister: Maoists are a greater threat than Islamic terrorists

The Indian government is preparing to deploy thousands of soldiers to defeat the country's growing Naxalite Maoist insurgency. Home minister P Chidambaram's description of the threat posed by the Naxalites was striking:

The Home Minister told a media conclave in Delhi that the Maoists and Islamic militants represented the two biggest threats to India’s national security, but the former was the more serious.

“Jihadi terrorism can be countered, usually successfully, if you are able to share information and act in real time,” he said. “But Maoism is an even graver threat.”

The numbers back up Chidambaram's claim: 

India has suffered only one attack by suspected Islamist militants - a bombing in the western city of Poona which killed 12 people last month - since the devastating one on Mumbai in November 2008.

By comparison, Maoist violence claimed 908 lives in India in 2009, the highest since 1971, according to the Home Ministry.

Chidambaram pledged that the Maoist threat would be eliminated in two to three years, which seems ambitious given that they're operating in 200 of India’s 626 districts. As a internal rather than transnational threat, the Naxalites don't get much attention in the West. But it stikes me that their potential to damage the credibility of India's democratic government or provoke it into overreaction is probably a serious cause for concern.