Vatican denounces attempts to draw Pope into scandal
Those who 'aggressively' tried to connect the Pontiff with sex abuse cases have failed, spokesman insists
Sunday 14 March 2010
The Vatican yesterday denounced what it called aggressive attempts to draw Pope Benedict XVI into a scandal in his German homeland, after it emerged a suspected paedophile priest was sent to do community work by the Munich archdiocese while the Pope was archbishop there some 30 years ago.
Both the Holy See's spokesman and its prosecutor for sexual abuse of minors by clergy defended the Pope. Abuse scandals have dogged the Pontiff in recent days following decades of abuses in the UK, the United States and around the world. The spokesman said the Pope has bravely confronted such cases for years.
On Friday the Munich archdiocese acknowledged it had transferred a paedophile priest at that time, amid abuse accusations connected to the Regensburg boys' choir, which was directed by the Pope's elder brother for 30 years.
Pope Benedict XVI drew further criticism over a 2001 church directive he wrote while a Vatican cardinal, instructing bishops to keep abuse cases confidential.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said on Vatican Radio: "It's rather clear that in the last days there have been those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the matter of abuses.
"For any objective observer, it's clear that these efforts have failed." He said the Munich archdiocese insisted the Pope was not involved in the decision to transfer the suspected child abuser.
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising announced on Friday night that it was setting up a new taskforce to focus on raising awareness in preventing sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and its institutions. Prelate Peter Beer, general vicar of the archdiocese, said: "There is no 100 per cent protection against sexual abuse, because we can never rule out the failure or misdoing of individuals, but we want to apply ourselves 100 per cent to prevent it from happening again."
The taskforce will collaborate with the working group charged with looking into allegations of past abuse.
Last month, the archdiocese, where the Pope served as archbishop from 1977-82, set up the working group after allegations of abuse in a church-run school surfaced. One man, Thomas Mayer, told Germany's Der Spiegel weekly that he had been sexually and physically abused while in the Regensburger Domspatzen boys' choir in 1992.
Mr Mayer's allegations are the first to overlap with the time the Pontiff's brother, Georg Ratzinger, led the group – from 1964-94. Cases of sexual abuse that have previously been reported date back to the late 1950s.
Mr Mayer is reported to have said he was raped by older pupils, adding that students were forced to have anal sex with one another in the apartment of a prefect at the church-run boarding school attached to the choir.
The Regensburg diocese has refused to comment on the report.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of marriage to Charles Saatchi
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...