December 20, 2010

Pope calls for reflection over abuse scandal

by Jan Harris

The revelation of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of children by priests has caused the Pope to call on the Roman Catholic church to examine its message and reflect on what is happening in Christian life that allowed the scandal to occur.

During his Christmas speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops, Pope Benedict XVI said that the church must accept the humiliation of the revelations as a call for renewal.

The Pope wants to ensure that priests are better trained, so that abusers are not ordained.

Revelations of sexual abuse within the church started in the US in 2002, followed by reports of incidences of abuse across Europe, and of the church turning a blind eye to the activities of paedophile priests.

In Northern Ireland, a further chapter of the Murphy Report has been published revealing that the Vatican tried to protect Irish priest Tony Walsh, who is believed to have abused hundreds of children.

Instead of removing him from the Catholic Church, the Vatican wanted him to serve 10 years in a monastery.

Walsh is now serving a 12-year prison sentence for abusing three boys.

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