Tags: pope.germany | secular | scandal

Vatican Fears Smear Campaign Against Pope

Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 01:18 PM

ROME — As new details emerged on allegations of child sexual abuse by a priest in the Munich archdiocese then led by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican spoke out on Saturday against what it called an aggressive campaign against the pope in his native Germany.

At the same time, a high-ranking Vatican official overseeing internal investigations on Saturday acknowledged that 3,000 cases of suspected abuse of minors had come to its attention in the past decade, of which 20 percent had been brought to trial in Vatican courts.

In a note read on Vatican Radio on Saturday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said it was “evident that in recent days there are those who have tried, with a certain aggressive tenacity, in Regensburg and in Munich, to find elements to involve the Holy Father personally in issues of abuse.” He added, “It is clear that those efforts have failed.”

In Germany, a man whose case has raised questions about the actions of the Munich Archdiocese when Benedict was the archbishop there said Saturday that church officials had told him that the priest who abused him in 1979 would not be allowed to work with children again. Instead, the priest was allowed to resume full duties almost immediately, and went on to abuse more children.

The Vatican also sought to defend the pope against criticism that a Vatican rule requiring secrecy in abuse cases was tantamount to obstruction of justice in civil courts.

Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the director of a tribunal inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm, dismissed as “false and calumnious” accusations that Benedict covered up abuse cases when he oversaw investigations for four years as prefect of that congregation before becoming pope.

In a rare and unusually frank interview that appeared on the front page of L’Avvenire, the Italian Bishops Conference newspaper, on Saturday, Monsignor Scicluna acknowledged that the Vatican had received about 3,000 accusations of abuse by priests of minors in the past decade, 80 percent of them from the United States.

Although the number represented only those forwarded to the Vatican, most likely only a fraction of the total worldwide, Monsignor Scicluna’s comments were among the most revealing to date about how the Vatican handles these cases, and appeared intended to show that it was confronting the problem.

He said that about 300 priests had been accused of pedophilia in the past nine years. The cases involved both diocesan and other priests and concerned acts committed over the last 50 years, he said.

He said that 20 percent of priests had been tried by the church — mostly in local dioceses but sometimes in Rome — and that some had been acquitted.

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ROME — As new details emerged on allegations of child sexual abuse by a priest in the Munich archdiocese then led by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican spoke out on Saturday against what it called an aggressive campaign against the pope in his native Germany.
pope.germany,secular,scandal
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2010-18-14
Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 01:18 PM
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