Thursday, March 11, 2010

Abuse scandal could create a crisis for Pope Benedict XVI

From The Detroit Free Press-

Church abuse scandals in Germany have reached as far as the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI and are creeping closer to the pontiff himself.

Although there has been no suggestion of wrongdoing by Benedict, the launch of an inquiry by German Catholic officials after his brother admitted slapping children years ago is stirring Vatican fears of a major crisis for the papacy.

Benedict, 82, was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. He was brought to the Vatican to head the body responsible for investigating abuse cases. During that time, he was criticized for decreeing that even the most serious cases must first be investigated internally.

Since then, Benedict has taken a strong stand against abuse by clerics in the Catholic Church. Just weeks before he became pope, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger caused a stir when he denounced "filth" in the church and among priests -- a condemnation taken as a reference to clerical sex abuse.

German church officials said Wednesday that they will examine what -- if anything -- Benedict knew about abuse when he was Munich archbishop. "We do not know if the pope knew about the abuse cases at the time," said church spokesman Karl Juesten.

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