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April 2010

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REPORT AIR DATE: April 23, 2010

Vatican Abuse Scandal Intensifies as Another Bishop Resigns
MARGARET WARNER: News of the resignation splashed across newspapers in Belgium today: a sex scandal in Bruges. Belgian bishop resigns.

Seventy-three-year-old Roger Vangheluwe served as bishop of Bruges since 1984. He's the first Belgian priest to resign in the latest wave of the clergy sex abuse scandal. A spokesman for the diocese read his statement.

PETER ROSSEL, spokesperson, Bruges Diocese (through translator): When I was not yet a bishop, and sometimes after, I sexually abused a young person from within my close entourage. This has marked the victim forever.

MARGARET WARNER: The bishop's resignation was immediately accepted by Pope Benedict XVI. It wasn't the first. Yesterday, the pope accepted the resignation of another bishop, James Moriarty of Kildare, Ireland. He is the third Irish bishop to step down since December.



Exclusive | Cardinal Levada: 'We Should Hold Ourselves to a Higher Standard'
pologize for my voice. Last week the pope accepted the resignation of two prominent bishops in Europe. Another bishop tendered his resignation in this clergy sex abuse scandal. Are there going to be more?

CARDINAL WILLIAM LEVADA: I don't think there is any way to predict. There have been several in the past, over the past 10 years let's say for various reasons. There is no way of predicting that, but I wouldn't be surprised.

MARGARET WARNER: Is there a new test really, a new standard for bishops to meet in the way they handle clergy sex abuse cases?

CARDINAL WILLIAM LEVADA: I think the standard is not new but it's being applied more rigorously than in the past.

MARGARET WARNER: And were all these resignations voluntary?


MARGARET WARNER: Would this pope in these sorts of cases consider asking for resignations?


MARGARET WARNER: We've had people say to us that this is the worst crisis the church has faced in a couple hundred years. Do you see it that way?


REPORT AIR DATE: April 29, 2010

Scandals Place Catholic Church Between Ancient Traditions, Modern Faith Crisis
MARGARET WARNER: They call Rome the Eternal City, awash in grand monuments and the artistic remains of civilizations that have spanned the millennia, in its heart, one of the most enduring, the seat of the self- proclaimed eternal church of Roman Catholicism, the Vatican.

But now, hit with a new wave of allegations of priestly sexual abuse of the young, the ancient church and its pope find themselves caught in a very modern crisis.

That didn't keep thousands from filling Saint Peter's Square this past Sunday to hear Pope Benedict XVI's weekly blessing from his window high above the piazza. He called on priests to model themselves on Jesus, the good shepherd, who safeguards his flock and defends it from evil.

Sister Lucien Rodrigues of Brazil thinks Pope Benedict is doing just that.

SISTER LUCIEN RODRIGUES, Brazil (through translator): He's confronting the situation with a lot of humility, and this is how the church should always be.


Sex crimes and the Vatican

A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by Panorama. Crimen Sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope. It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders. Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.


Video Panorama:
Sex crime and the Vatican:

Church's denial makes it hard for abused to heal
the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Church at forefront to stop society's abuse of children"

For even the slickest public-relations firm, The Vatican would certainly make a tough client. As a small minority of severely disturbed priests tortured children, a large majority of their managers in Rome tortured the truth.

Benedict XVI's official homilist selected Good Friday to compare criticism of the Vatican to the mistreatment of Jews. Then at the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square, Cardinal Sodano observed that, like Jesus, Pope Benedict, "when he was reviled, reviled not in return." Later Sodano dismissed the shocking, thoroughly documented and persistent revelations of priest abuse and bishop enabling over three decades as "the gossip of the moment."

Recently, the Vatican's official newspaper tried to walk back some of its more egregious distortions. It admitted that earlier comments by Vatican officials dismissing the allegations had been "poor communication," and "not prudent.''


Paul Schaefer, German Guilty of Chile Child Abuse, Dies at 89

RIO DE JANEIRO — A former Nazi-era German soldier who founded a secretive German cult in southern Chile, where he sexually abused about 25 children, died of heart failure at a prison hospital early Saturday, Chilean officials said. He was 89.

The former soldier, Paul Schaefer, was serving a 20-year sentence for the sexual abuse of minors, but he was also under investigation for the 1985 disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler, an American citizen who vanished while on a hiking trip.

The Chilean government said officially that Mr. Weisfeiler, then 43 years old, drowned while trying to ford a river. But State Department and C.I.A. reports that were later declassified indicated that he was probably kidnapped by Chilean state security forces, who then handed him over to Mr. Schaefer’s heavily armed Colonia Dignidad religious sect based nearby. Dozens of opponents of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship were tortured at Colonia Dignidad, according to human rights groups.


(AP) – 2 ex-priests: we reported Belgian bishop sex abuse

BRUSSELS — Two former priests say they told church authorities years ago about allegations that Belgium's longest-serving bishop abused a boy but were stonewalled until he was forced to resign Friday.

Norbert Bethune, who was dismissed after a doctrinal conflict with superiors, and retired priest Rik Devillle told Belgian media that they reported the allegations to Godfried Danneels, then archbishop.

Bethune said he reported the allegations seven years ago. Deville said he learned of the charges from a confidant of the victim's family and reported them 15 years ago.

Danneels said through a spokesman that he had no recollections of the allegations at the time.

When he resigned, Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, 73, expressed sorrow for having sexually abused the boy.


PORTLAND, Ore. — The Boy Scouts of America were ordered Friday to pay $18.5 million in a lawsuit

that has focused new attention on the secret files the Scouts keep to document claims of sexual abuse by troop leaders and volunteers.

Known variously as the “perversion files,” the “red flag files” and the “ineligible volunteer files,” the documents have been maintained for more than 70 years at the Scouts’ national office in Texas. Yet even after scores of abuse cases against the Scouts in recent decades, the case here is one of the few times that substantial portions of the files have been made accessible to a jury.


Author Alice Miller dies

Alice Miller, the author and psychologist who claimed that Adolf Hitler was bad because he was spanked as a boy, has died at the age of 87, says her Berlin publisher.


US court action accuses Pope of failing to protect children from priest

The Pope was named in a lawsuit in a new court action in America yesterday by a man who says that he was abused as a child by a Roman Catholic priest.

The legal action, which will put even more pressure on the Catholic Church over its legacy of child abuse scandals around the world, came as two more bishops resigned and new allegations came to light.

The US plaintiff, who was not identified in the court papers, accuses Benedict XVI and other senior Vatican figures of failing to protect children from a man they knew was a paedophile.


Chilean priest allegedly abused 5 young men

(AP) SANTIAGO, Chile — A Chilean prosecutor on Thursday announced a criminal investigation of a popular retired priest accused of sexually abusing five young men in his parish residence.

The allegations were lodged late last year and confirmed by the archbishop of Santiago only this week, as Chile's Roman Catholic leadership appealed publicly for forgiveness for alleged abuses involving 20 clergy members. Five of them have been convicted and 15 others are under investigation.

Chilean Abuse Case Tests Loyalty of a Parish

NT - ANTIAGO, Chile — The Rev. Fernando Karadima is one of Chile’s most respected and influential priests. Some go so far as to call him a “living saint,” who for half a century trained dozens of priests and helped mold thousands of young Catholics from Santiago’s elite.

Now four men who were once devoted followers have filed a criminal complaint alleging that Father Karadima, now 80, sexually abused them in secret for years.

One man said he had reported the abuse to Father Karadima’s superiors in the archdiocese of Santiago as many as seven years ago, but they took no action. All four men filed formal complaints last year with the archdiocesan tribunal and, receiving no response, spoke publicly for the first time this week.


Belgium's Catholic bishop of Bruges quits over abuse

The bishop of the Belgian city of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, has resigned after admitting sexual abuse of a boy earlier in his career.

Bishop Vangheluwe, 73, said the abuse had happened when he was a simple priest and continued when he started as a bishop, a Vatican statement said.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the resignation.

The Catholic Church has come under severe pressure over child sexual abuse allegations emerging across the world.

"Before I was a bishop and for a certain time afterwards I sexually abused a young boy close to me," Bishop Vangheluwe said in a letter that was read out at a press conference in Brussels.


Catholic Donors Give While Priests Abuse Children

Bloomberg -- Margaret McSherry, a 79-year-old widow, keeps giving 7 pounds ($10.85) a week to Holy Family Church in Belfast as the investigation of pedophile priests spreads to three continents.

“I am a practicing Catholic Christian and I always will be,” said the retired nurse in Northern Ireland. “The Church needs money to keep itself up.”

Loyalty such as McSherry’s to the world’s oldest Christian denomination, with more than 1 billion followers, helps explain why anger at the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI for failing to prevent priests in five countries from abusing children won’t lead to a drop in Sunday collections and donations to local parishes, said Joseph Claude Harris, a Seattle-based expert on Catholic finance.

Rising Gifts

Pledged gifts to bishops’ appeals and offertory contributions from parishioners in the U.S., where churches are financed by voluntary donations more than anywhere else in the world, rose 18.8 percent to $7.7 billion in the four years after allegations of abuse in Boston emerged in 2002, according to the most recently available data from the International Catholic Stewardship Council in Washington.


BBC News: A man who says he was the victim of an American paedophile priest is bringing a lawsuit against the Pope and the Vatican in a US federal court.

His lawyers want the Church to release any files it has on abuse cases involving priests.

The alleged victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, says he was abused by the late Father Lawrence Murphy.

Fr Murphy is accused of attacking up to 200 children during his 20 years at a school for deaf children in Milwaukee.

He was finally moved from the St John school to another diocese in 1974, but was never prosecuted or defrocked.

A Church trial was opened after the Vatican received a letter from Fr Murphy's bishop in 1996, but it was not concluded by the time Fr Murphy died in 1998.

The alleged victim's lawyer, Jeff Anderson, says the Vatican has been negligent. "What we want the Vatican to do is step up to disgorge the secrets that they have in their files," he told the BBC.


German Catholic bishop resigns in disgrace, church members' exodus continues

A prominent German bishop has offered his resignation to the pope, over charges of beating children under his supervision. Meanwhile, more and more German Catholics are leaving their scandal-plagued church.

The bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, has written a letter to the pope offering his resignation after being accused of using violence against children in his care, and of misusing funds donated to a local orphanage.

His decision comes after senior figures in the German Catholic Church - who do not have the authority to call on him to resign -suggested he take a leave of absence from his post, a move which revealed a rare lack of solidarity within the ranks of the Catholic Church.


US court rejects Roman Polanski's in absentia bid

A US court has rejected a bid by film director Roman Polanski to be sentenced in absentia for a child sex case.

The move by the California Second District Court of Appeal clears the way for Polanski, now 76, to be extradited from Switzerland to the US.

Polanski has been under house arrest in Switzerland since September facing a US arrest warrant over his conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

He left the US in 1978 before he could be sentenced and has never returned.


German bishop Walter Mixa offers to resign

The bishop of Augsburg in southern Germany has offered to resign following accusations that he hit children, Church officials say.

Bishop Walter Mixa told the Pope in a resignation letter that his diocese needed a "new start".

The bishop at first denied hitting children before saying he may have slapped them, and apologising. Continue:

BBC: German Bishop Mixa issues apology after beatings claim
A German bishop accused of physically abusing children in his care has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness.

Bishop Walter Mixa said in a statement that he was "sorry for causing many people grief" without specifying exactly what he meant.

The Bishop of Augsburg has been accused of carrying out beatings at a Catholic children's home in the 1970s and 1980s.

The claims came as the Catholic Church is embroiled in allegations of child sex abuse by priests.


From The Times: German bishop accused of beating orphaned girls

One of the Pope's closest conservative allies in Germany, Bishop Walter Mixa, has been accused of brutally beating and flogging children in his care.

The Bishop of Augsburg, 68, denies the claims by five former pupils at a Catholic-run orphanage and care facility. But they will be a source of deep embarrassment and concern in the Vatican: Bishop Mixa is part of a conservative axis in Pope Benedict XVI's native Bavaria that has always backed the pontiff in his most controversial decisions, from criticising the violence of Islam in Regensburg cathedral, to rehabilitating the Holocaust-sce

"My heart is pure": Bishop Mixa confronts an abusive past

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE ONCE wrote that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform. While it’s unclear whether the Catholic Church’s sluggish response to the current child molestation scandal represents a reform process of any kind, there is no doubt that this badly-supervised organization is indeed entering a dangerous moment in its history. Take the case of German bishop Walter Mixa, who is himself facing child abuse charges of a different kind that may open the Church up to a tsunami of public embarrassment and costly lawsuits.

German bishop faces allegations of physical punishment

According to allegations published Wednesday in a German newspaper, leading Catholic bishop Walter Mixa physically abused children in a church orphanage three decades ago. The bishop's office has denied the accusations.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a report on its website on Wednesday alleging that Bishop Walter Mixa had "slapped, punched or spanked the behinds of boys and girls who had misbehaved" at an orphanage in the southern town of Schrobenhausen in the 1970s.

The newspaper said three women and two men had given statements under oath that Mixa had beaten them repeatedly.

One of the women, a 47-year-old who asked to remain unidentified, confirmed the report on Wednesday, telling the German Press Agency that she had been punched while at the orphanage.


German bishop accused of beating orphaned girls
Roger Boyes, Berlin
The Times
April 1, 2010

One of the Pope’s closest conservative allies in Germany, Bishop Walter Mixa, has been accused of brutally beating and flogging children in his care.

The Bishop of Augsburg, 68, denies the claims by five former pupils at a Catholic-run orphanage and care facility. But they will be a source of deep embarrassment and concern in the Vatican: Bishop Mixa is part of a conservative axis in Pope Benedict XVI’s native Bavaria that has always backed the pontiff in his most controversial decisions, from criticising the violence of Islam in Regensburg cathedral, to rehabilitating the Holocaust-sceptic Bishop Richard Williamson.

Although there are no accusations of sexual abuse at the home – where the bishop was a visiting priest in the 1970s and 1980s – it is clear that Mr Mixa is in trouble.


Church pedophilia scandal grows in Latin America


SAO PAULO — The detention of an 83-year-old priest in Brazil for allegedly abusing boys as young as 12 in a case involving lurid videotape and a congressional investigation has added to the scandals hitting the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America.

The allegations against Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa — and two other Brazilian priests — have made headlines throughout the world's most populous Catholic nation and come amid accusations of sexual abuse by priests across the world.

The scandal erupted when Brazilian television network SBT last month broadcast a tape of Barbosa in bed with a 19-year-old that was widely distributed on the Internet.

The station said the video was secretly filmed in January 2009 and sent anonymously to the network. It was not clear if the 19-year-old, identified as a former altar boy who had worked with Barbosa for four years, had previous sexual relations with the priest.

CNN Pope expresses 'shame and sorrow' to abuse victims

Valletta, Malta (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of sexual abuse victims Sunday that he feels "shame" for what they suffered within the church and will make sure their abusers are brought "to justice," the Vatican announced.

Pedophile Priests and the "Geographical Cure"

Expert Cites "Checker Game" where Child Molesters Are Allowed to Continue Work in Places Where Their Past Is Not Known
(CBS) At the Vatican Thursday, Pope Benedict made an oblique apparent reference to the worldwide sex abuse scandal enveloping the church. Meanwhile, a new investigation by the Associated Press reveals the church frequently moved pedophile priests from one country to another where some abused children again.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports it's been more than 50 years, but Joe Callander is still haunted by the memory of Father Mario Pezzoti, who sexually abused him when he was 14 years old.

"It left lasting scars by all means," Callander said.


German abuse victims march as bishop and govt talk

BERLIN (Reuters) - Some 200 Germans brought up in children's care homes, many of whom were abused in Church-run institutions, marched through Berlin on Thursday, waving banners to draw attention to the plight of victims.

The rally coincided with talks between the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to patch up a public spat over the abuse scandal that has shaken the Church.

"We say: go public, make politicians wake up to the fact that we are here," said Dirk Friedrich, spokesman for "Ehemalige Heimkinder" (Former Care Home Children). The group is made up of children who spent time in a range of homes, including Church-run institutions.

Some protestors held banners with slogans such as "Open the Archives"; one woman had a placard saying "I had to eat vomit".

BBC: Pope Benedict says Catholics must 'do penance'
Pope Benedict XVI has called on Roman Catholics to "do penance" for their sins, an apparent reference to the recent child sexual abuse scandal.

He said Catholics were "under attack from the world which talks to us of our sins" and should see the necessity "to recognise what is wrong in our lives".

Maybe the Pope read: Luke 17 (New International Version)

1Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.

2It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

The Vatican Billions

by Avro Manhattan - Chick Publications

Two Thousand Years of Wealth Accumulation from Caesar to the Space Age

"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

The Historical Genesis of the Vatican's Accumulation of Wealth

Historical genesis of the Vatican's accumulation of wealth - The splitting of Christianity accelerated by its policy of temporal riches - Christianity expropriates all rival religions - How the Apostolic tradition of poverty was abandoned.

Ratzinger’s Responsibility
for the Sex Scandals

By Jay Nelson
(Adapted from the book, Sons of Perdition)

Pope Benedict XVI is no stranger to controversy. Yet until now, he has floated serenely
aloof from the clergy sexual abuse crisis that has shaken his Church around the world. But fresh questions about his role as a bishop have arisen recently in the wake of scandals in his Bavarian homeland. However, history already proves that Joseph Ratzinger bears a unique personal burden for this entire calamity, one never suspected before now.
New research surprisingly revealed that he has had a far greater impact on these distressing scandals than is widely believed. In some ways, this mammoth tragedy is partly his doing, even before he became pope. For a speech written by Ratzinger over forty years ago helped set the stage for their eruption in the first place. Two decades later, his patient efforts as a powerful cardinal to undo those fateful words may cause the whole sorry spectacle to eventually fade away like smoke in sunshine.
In any case, these events at the time remained unrecognized simply because their immediate effect was limited to the most powerful and secretive department in the Vatican. Now it is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, before that, the Holy Office. But for centuries, this agency had been branded with the sinister title of the Inquisition.

Pope Responsible for Scandals Long Before Election

Before becoming pope, Joseph Ratzinger accidentally helped set the stage for the sex scandals, and later worked hard to restore secrecy, a historian claims.

Sons of Perdition: New Mexico in the Secret History of the Catholic Sex Scandals

The scandals which have rocked the Church have many of their roots in my home state of New Mexico, but that's just the beginning. Just published, this book lays out the amazing story of sex among Catholic clergy from the founding of the Church to the present, including the surprising roles of Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican II, and the Inquisition, showing how they came about, their ultimate disappearance – and why that may not be a good thing.

Read also the book review:

BBC News: Vatican comment on paedophiles draws gay groups' anger

Gay rights activists have criticised a Vatican official who sought to link homosexuality to paedophilia when commenting on child sex abuse scandals.

The UK's Stonewall group said it was astonishing gay people should still be dealing with "such an offensive myth".

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had said homosexuality, not celibacy, lay behind the child sex abuse scandals.

The cardinal, the Vatican's foreign minister, was speaking in Chile, where his comments were also condemned.

Vatican: Bishops must report abuse to police
Policy spelled out in guidelines created in response to sex abuse scandal

AP - By NICOLE WINFIELD April 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Monday made clear for the first time that bishops and other church officials should report clerical sex abuse to police if required by law. But the policy failed to satisfy victims who charge that the church deliberately hid abuse for decades.

Victims, government inquiries and grand juries have all charged that the Catholic Church created what amounted to a conspiracy to cover up abuse by keeping allegations that priests raped and molested children secret and not reporting them to civil authorities.

Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.


BBC News: Pope 'letter' reignites abuse row

The Pope faces allegations he was responsible for delaying Church action against a paedophile priest - the first time he has been accused so directly.

The Vatican says he was exercising due caution before sacking the priest.

Cardinal Ratzinger - who was at the time the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - said the "good of the universal Church" needed to be considered in any defrocking, AP reported.

Pope Benedict Stalled Child Molestation Case, 1985 Letter Shows

LOS ANGELES — The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including "the good of the universal church," according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican's insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church's doctrinal watchdog office.

The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the Diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle.

The Vatican confirmed Friday that it was Ratzinger's signature. "The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations," the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

The Washington Post: Italian abuse victims want pope to speak out

VERONA, Italy (Reuters) - Abuse victim Dario Laiti is deaf and has great difficulty speaking. But he has a clear message for Pope Benedict: expose predator priests, past and present, living and dead, for the good of the Church.

"I think the pope has to carry out justice. He has to get rid of all the priests who abused children. He has to tell the world who these people were and which of them are still living," Laiti told Reuters in this northern Italian city.

Pope willing to meet more victims as sex abuse scandal widens

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI is willing to hold further meetings with victims of pedophile priests as details of fresh sexual abuse cases surface in Germany and Norway.

Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi has said that Pope Benedict XVI was "available for new meetings" with victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests, insisting such a move was "the only way to regain trust" in Catholic communities around the world.

Who Abused the Child-Abusing Priests?

Those who study the ways of child abuse, like the pyschologist Alice Miller, tell us that adults who abuse children were themselves usually abused as children. Abuse is a self-perpetuating noxious cycle. As you were mistreated, so will you pass that along.

So I wonder: were all these pedophile Catholic priests abused, then, when they were young?

And by whom?...

Is a long history playing itself out, that we're just beginning to grasp--and should be looking at even closer?


BBC: Does Catholic celibacy contribute to child sex abuse?

With the Roman Catholic Church facing a series of paedophilia scandals, some observers have begun to ask whether the tradition of celibacy in the priesthood has contributed to child abuse. The BBC's Paul Henley raises the question with Catholics in Cologne.

Typical of the kind of comment Catholic leaders would have preferred not to have faced,was a contribution to a recent ZDF television discussion programme by Professor Klaus Beier, head of the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at Berlin's Charite Hospital.

"If you are already struggling with a conflicted sexuality, including paedophile tendencies, then it is attractive to become part of an institution that obliges you to be celibate," he said.

Pope makes no mention of abuse scandal in Easter sermon

Applause rang out in St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI concluded a much-anticipated Mass, in which a senior cardinal praised the pontiff's leadership and dismissed the allegations against him as "petty gossip."

The pope urged humanity to undergo a "spiritual and moral conversion" during his traditional Easter message, but did not directly address the ongoing scandal over child abuse, which has rocked the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

The leader of some 1.1 billion Catholics was under pressure to reiterate his condemnation of predator priests in his "urbi et orbi" message to the world, but the only oblique reference to the scandal came in a surprise speech by the dean of the Vatican's College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano.

Shifting the blame to John Paul II doesn’t let Ratzinger off the hook

Cardinal Groer, Archbishop of Vienna, was a serial child abuser – some estimates put the number of his victims in the region of 2,000. He was still a Cardinal when he died, despite his activities being made public.

Holy Water Gate

The video is well worth watching.

NBC News / AP:
Pope celebrates Easter Vigil amid abuse scandal
Vatican paper denounces media’s ‘vile defamation campaign’ against pontiff

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Easter Vigil on Saturday as the Vatican newspaper denounced what it called a "vile defamation operation" against him concerning the clerical abuse scandal.

Benedict presided over the evening service in St. Peter's Basilica, commemorating the night before Easter, when Christians believe Christ rose from the dead.

The pope didn't directly refer to the scandal in his homily. He focused on life, death, and immortality, pondering what would happen if modern medicine could remove death altogether.

watch also video: "Harsh words erupt over church crisis"

German archbishop acknowledges church's failing in abuse scandal

The head of the Catholic Church in Germany, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, admitted that in the past, the church had done too little to help abuse victims. Across Germany, the abuse scandal is shaping Good Friday services.

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop of Freiburg Robert Zollitsch, released a statement on Good Friday acknowledging the failure of the Catholic Church to satisfactorily handle the sex abuse scandal.

Zollitsch admitted that, in the past, the church had done too little to help abuse victims, and said the church's response was a reflection of contemporary social mores.

Vatican wants legal shield to protect Pope from probe

Head of state has immunity from abuse questions, lawyers to argue

The Vatican is seeking to use a legal shield to prevent Pope Benedict from being dragged deeper into the clergy sex abuse scandal in the hope that the Pontiff may be spared from answering questions under oath in a US lawsuit.

Court documents reveal that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the Pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the “smoking gun” that provides proof of a cover-up.

NYT: At Vatican Service, Persecution of Jews Is Invoked

ROME — A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church — which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases — to the persecution of the Jews, sharply raising the volume in the Vatican’s counterattack.

The remarks, on the day Christians mark the crucifixion, underscored how much the Catholic Church has felt under attack from recent news reports and criticism over how it has handled charges of child molestation against priests in the past, and sought to focus attention on the church as the central victim.

German bishop makes public denial of physical abuse allegations

Prominent Catholic Bishop Walter Mixa rejected all accusations of child abuse against him in a personal message on Thursday. The bishop offered an open invititation to his accusers to talk about their pains.

The bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, has been embroiled in a child abuse scandal since Wednesday. One day later, he addressed the public, rejecting all accusations that he physically abused children while a parish priest at an orphanage in southern Germany in the 1970s.

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