March 30, 2010
The intention of the archbishop of Munich and Freising to take the Pope out of the firing line has apparently failed and claimed a victim: the former Vicar General, Dr. Gerhard Gruber. When talking to him on the phone last Saturday I learned the following facts:
About three weeks ago, Gerhard was summoned to the archbishop`s office where he was presented with a document which had been prepared for him to sign and over whose text he was permitted no influence. It contained a declaration that he would take responsibility for the manner in which the case of abuse which had come to light had been handled at the time.
The following day, the press officer of the archdiocese announced on German television that the former Vicar General Gerhard Gruber had acted “on his own authority” at that time. Gerhard complained about this aggravating expression to the archbishop’s office.
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In his defense, he publicly argued that at that time well known therapists were still claiming that paedophilia could be healed. In accordance with this view, the therapist in charge of the case had said that redeployment of the perpetrator following treatment would not be a risk. Obviously this was an error.
On March 19 this same therapist, Huth, contacted the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and claimed that he had at the time issued several warnings and also provided his professional opinion. Whether he had passed on the content of his expert opinion orally or in written form he was, however, not able to remember after such a long interval. This version was confirmed by the archbishop on the same day. Gerhard does not know of that expert opinion.
This expert Huth has thereby not only violated patient confidentiality but also infringed the legal obligation to keep medical records for 30 years, which every doctor or therapist is obliged to do, in order to be able to reconstruct and document events at a future date.
Gerhard is thus called a liar by the archbishop and the therapist without being able to defend himself, as he told me. That is why, a few days ago, FM Cardinal Wetter objected to the way this issue was handled. Franz Kreuter, too, has condemned the archbishop`s policy of “Zero tolerance” and his ambition to “take the evil by its roots”, as if an illness equalled “evil”
One wonders who it is that has an imbalanced relationship to truth.
After all this, Gerhard`s health has been seriously affected: he is having considerable problems. Please do include him in your prayers.
The Pope, however, remains silent. Meanwhile, Gotthold Hasenhüttl and Hans Küng are looking more deeply into the role he played in the cases of abuse which were known to him from the beginning; and the journalists of “The New York Times” are doing the same for the cases in the United States.
W. R. [Walter Romahn]