Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pope helped priest accused of child abuse

The Pope has become embroiled in Germany's Catholic child sex abuse scandal after his former diocese confirmed he approved a decision to give church accommodation to a priest accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex.

Pope Benedict XVI has so far been relatively active in speaking out against paedophilia and making promises that accusations would be investigated wherever they rose.

The scandal currently rocking Germany has affected 19 of the country’s 27 dioceses, with accusations made of at times systematic child sex abuse of school pupils and choir members.

A large part of the scandal involves the protection of those accused of abuse, and their continued employment by the church, often simply being moved to different places rather than investigated or banned from working with children.

Benedict this week approved moves being made in Germany, where he spent much of his early church career, to appoint a watchdog to try to prevent such abuse in the future.

Yet it then emerged over the weekend that as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich and Friesing, the Pope had supported the attempted rehabilitation within his own diocese of a priest named only as H.

He had been accused of the sex abuse while in Essen, but moved to Munich for help.

A statement from the Munich and Friesing diocese said, “It was decided in 1980 to give H. accommodation in a rectory so that he could receive therapy. The archbishop [now Pope Benedict XVI] took part in this decision.”

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