Abuse responses ‘not Pope’s job’

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Commenting on abuse cases ‘is not Pope Benedict XVI’s responsibility’

13 April 2010

(UKPA) – 2 days ago

The pope is refusing to comment publicly on individual sex abuse cases rocking the Catholic church because they were not his responsibility, his private secretary said.

Monsignor Georg Gaenswein said it was not helpful for the pope to comment because it was for individual bishops to deal with them.

“It does not make sense, nor is it helpful, for the Holy Father to comment personally on each case,” the he told the German newspaper Bild.

“It is overlooked too fast that various bishops and bishops conferences carry responsibility,” he said.

“Criticism that helps the cause is always legitimate,” he was quoted as saying. “But I doubt that in this case the criticism really follows this purpose.”

Msgr Gaenswein said each case of sexual abuse must be condemned, and “no one has done so as strongly as the Holy Father and the Catholic Church”.

Over the past three months, hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse have shaken Germany’s church, including some in the Munich archdiocese where the pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, served as archbishop from 1977-1982.

Cardinal Ratzinger in 1980 approved of a known paedophile priest’s transfer from the northern city of Essen to Munich where he was to undergo therapy but was allowed to return to ministry and was later convicted of molesting children. Also in the Munich diocese, children at the Benedictine Ettal Monastery boarding school were physically and sexually abused for years, according to a special report.

“My research has shown clearly that, over the decades in the Ettal Monastery up until about 1990, children and youths were brutally abused, sadistically tortured and also sexually abused,” special investigator Thomas Pfister said. His report has not been officially released, but some information has trickled out.

Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

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