The story is still in the process of being fleshed out by varying sources, but this much is known:
Pope Benedict XVI, nee Joseph "Joey, the Rat" Ratzinger, entered the priesthood in Bavaria in 1950 at the age of 23. There he encountered a 16-year old American lad who was travelling through Europe and the two became fast friends. When the boy turned 18, Fr. Ratzinger, already a rising star in the church, convinced his young friend to enroll in St. Euthanasias Seminary in Topanga, Austria. Two years later, a newly ordained Fr. Charles B. Manson would begin a brief, yet tumultuous, tenure as a popular Roman Catholic priest.
Father Charles Manson, known to his younger parishoners as "Kumbaya Charlie" for his inspirational music ministry.
In the mid-1950s, now-Monsignor Ratzinger had acquired oversight of several parishes in Austria, including St. Philharmonia, where a charismatic Fr. Charlie was gaining quite a reputation--not all of it good. Rumors swirled throughout the parish when altar boys began disappearing from the community at an alarming rate, with the innuendo finally reaching the ornate, gold-inlaid desk of Msgr. Ratzinger.
In August of 1959, Msgr. Ratzinger visited his old friend to deliver the bad news: either stop abducting altar boys or he would be transferred to another parish, as was the custom. Fr. Charlie insisted that he had done nothing more heinous than every other priest in the church had done and that Msgr. Ratzinger was singling him out because he was an American, calling the Reverand Father a "Nazi." An outraged Msgr. Ratzinger shouted back, "You like America so much, I am send you back. There is opening in parish in South Central Los Angeles, you like your America so much. You touch boys there, they KILL you. Maybe they cut your balls off. You love it there. You never be nothing, Charlie. Not like me."
The two parted bitterly, with Fr. Charlie soon shipped off to the mean streets of L.A. to serve as headmaster at the rundown St. Thomas LaSorda School for Wayward Boys. Fr. Charlie was quickly overwhelmed by the task and eventually dropped out of the priesthood, to begin hanging around with the nascent hippie movement in mid-1960s California, dabbling in psychedelic drugs. He ended up living on the streets, homeless, harboring a gnawing resentment toward his former friend, Ratzinger, for removing him from his cushy post in Austria and shipping him to the crime and poverty riddled, drug-infested ghettos of L.A. The now-defrocked and disgraced Manson vowed that he would somehow carve out a name for himself and make Joey, the Rat sorry for marginalizing him.
And, so, on the night of Aug. 8, 1969, ten years to the day after his heated confrontation with Msgr. Ratzinger, Charles Manson unleashed his 'family' of devoted followers on a murderous rampage over the next two days that would rock the nation and the world. In the weeks to come following his arrest and subsequent notoriety, Manson made good on his promise to make a name for himself and secure his place in history.
Over the years, Manson tried to assign blame for his sorry state to his run-in with Ratzinger, now a cardinal in the Catholic Church hierarchy. Manson wroter letter after letter to his former mentor in the hope of reconciliation and redemption, but it was all for naught; the letters were returned to Manson's cell unopened as Ratzinger continued his inexorable climb to head the Vatican. In a heartbreaking display of frustration at his rejection by Ratzinger, Manson crudely scratched a swastika on his forehead before a court appearance, in an apparent nod to his characterization of Ratzinger being a Nazi years earlier.
"And it still stings all these years later. Sometimes I get headaches from it. But I'll tell you what: that little Bic pen tattoo up there sure saved me from a world of hurt in prison after the Aryan Brotherhood noticed it and became my BFFs."
But Ratzinger had not forgotten his friend from those many years ago. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected by his peers to become the 265th leader of the Holy Church of Rome, he took the name "Benedict XVI," an obvious reference to Charles Benedict Manson, who was but 16 (XVI) years old when they had first met in that small Bavarian village, a lifetime ago.
Investigators and forensic historians are poring over the facts and timelines of this breaking story. Some questions they hope to answer include:
- Could the murders of nearly a dozen innocent people have been prevented if Ratzinger had not transferred Manson to L.A.?
- Would Roman Polanski not have assaulted that 13-year old girl if his wife, Sharon Tate, was still alive?
- Would Steven Railsback have become a major motion picture star if he wouldn't have been forever typecast as a psycho after portraying Manson in "Helter Skelter?"
- Would Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, another Manson devotee, been induced into trying to assassinate Pres. Gerald Ford and, if successful, would that have derailed the career of Chevy Chase?
"I swear I didn't know anything about any little boys.....GAAAAAA!!!!!!"