Pope Benedict’s German Birthplace Vandalized, Police Say

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Bloomberg.com

13 April 2010

By Patrick Donahue

April 13 (Bloomberg) — The house in which Pope Benedict XVI was born in the southern Bavarian village of Marktl am Inn was vandalized overnight with an “obscene” phrase spray- painted above the main door, police said.

The blue graffiti was discovered early today, Bavarian police said in a statement on their Web site. Authorities, who estimate the damage at 1,500 euros ($2,040), have painted over the text to cover it up. Police are searching for the person who vandalized the house.

“You can presume” the graffiti was related to the sex- abuse scandal linked to the Catholic Church in Germany, police spokesman Konrad Rutzinger said by phone from southern Germany. He declined to give details on the content of the graffiti.

The house defacement occurred three days before the German pope’s 83rd birthday in the town on the Inn River near the Austrian border. The pope was born in the three-story, 18th century house on April 16, 1927. The building has become a museum dedicated to Benedict XVI.

Benedict himself was drawn into the widening scandal last month when the Munich archdiocese said the pontiff, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, played a role in moving a priest later convicted of molesting boys to his diocese in 1980.

The Vatican yesterday responded to criticism linked to the sex abuse scandal by publishing its guidelines for dealing with Roman Catholic clerics accused of molesting minors for the first time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: April 13, 2010 09:19 EDT

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