Southern Religion

What did the Rev. Kiesle do while Cardinal Ratzinger delayed?

The Rev. Stephen Kiesle remained a priest for years while then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “bucked pleas from the Oakland, Calif., diocese to defrock him.” The Associated press has obtained a copy of 1985 letter signed by Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), delaying a decision for “the good of the Universal Church.”

The Contra Costa Times reports:

The letter came five years after Kiesle himself requested removal from the priesthood, and the diocese recommended it to the Vatican, following Kiesle’s no-contest plea in 1978 on a misdemeanor charge for tying up and molesting two preteen boys in the rectory of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Union City.

Kiesle, now 63 and recently released from prison, lives in the Rossmoor senior community in Walnut Creek and wears a Global Positioning System anklet. He is on parole for a different sex crime against a child. A self-described “Pied Piper of the neighborhood,” he is perhaps the most notorious among dozens of East Bay clergy accused of sex abuse over decades.

Numerous accusers have claimed he abused them as children at Our Lady of the Rosary, Santa Paula (now Our Lady of Guadalupe) in Fremont and Saint Joseph in Pinole, where he served in the mid-1970s, then returned in 1985 to volunteer as a youth minister.

What comprehensible “good” was there in delay of a decision on this this?

[H/T: Eric Bugyis]


April 10, 2010 - Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI | , , ,


  1. .
    People jump to conclusions without investigating enough facts.

    People are confusing “defrocking” with removal from ministry.

    Stephen Kiesle had admitted his crime and had been removed from ministry– children were now safe from him. He had lost his job and his access to children.

    “Defrocking” is a separate issue — like dissolving a marriage or revoking a Ph.D. These steps are never taken by civil authorities in pedophilia cases.

    It is not surprising that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was not in a big rush to reverse the ordination of a priest for life, particularly in a time when all experts, including civil authorities, believed that such offenders could be rehabilitated.

    Whatever happened to the Christian virtue of mercy?

    Today our civil authorities return abusers to the streets after a brief incarceration, and they are free again to live near schools and other centers where children gather.

    Why is everyone punishing the Pope for what he did 25 years ago, and which we still ALL do today– that is, exercise mercy and offer rehabilitation to criminals?

    Will we require the Pope 25 years ago to be less merciful than the civil authorities of the US are today?

    The Catholic Church remains the LOWEST FREQUENCY OFFENDER in the area of pedophilia, ( and the liberal left press’ eagerness to attack the least offenders is due to the outspoken nature of the Catholic Church’s defense of marriage, family, and the US Bishops active condemnation of abortion in the Obama Health Care Bill.

    All Christians should realize this liberal ploy to discredit the moral voice of the Catholic Church, and should join together to defeat the far left liberal agenda, instead of allowing them to divide and scatter Christians who together could defeat abortion, and the destruction of family and marriage.


    Comment by Madison Catholic | April 10, 2010

  2. WOW-Where is the mercy for molested children? There was none. There still isn’t any. There never will be.

    So many sheep just blindly following the “shepherd,” (right over a cliff!)

    These archaic Vatican practices continue, even today. Go ahead and turn a blind eye to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of priests, and then come back and talk some more about that mercy you claim to know so much about.

    Comment by VictimWithAVoice | April 11, 2010

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