News / Europe

    Catholics Celebrate Easter, Among Church Sex Scandal

    Pope Benedict XVI
    Pope Benedict XVI

    Multimedia

    Roman Catholics around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But allegations that priests sexually abused children have tarnished the image of the Church and raised questions about Pope Benedict's leadership.

    This is the heartland of Roman Catholicism. The Church has more than one billion followers worldwide.

    But now the Vatican is besieged by allegations of sexual abuse and of a cover up by senior clergy as well as questions about Pope Benedict XVI and his role when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

    Peter Isely was sexually abused by a priest when he was 13.  That prompted him to help establish a victims' support group in the United States.  He's come to Rome for answers.

    "That's why we're here - to say, look these men in our community our fellow survivors, they deserve an answer from you," said Peter Isely. "You have to talk to them."

    They especially want answers about then Cardinal Ratzinger and his involvement in the transfer of a priest who abused some 200 deaf American children in Wisconsin 30 years ago.

    "If he's not able to answer convincingly and clearly the evidence which is mounting in these cases, how's he going to be able to discipline and change anything," he said. "You know, he can't."

    So far, the Pope has apologized for abuses in Ireland.

    Elsewhere in Europe, including the Pope's native Germany, allegations of past abuses have also surfaced.  Ratzinger served as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

    He approved the transfer of a pedophile priest, Peter Huellermann, to the Munich Archdiocese for psychotherapy.  It's unclear if he knew the priest was allowed back into the parish and again had contact with children.

    The Vatican says Ratzinger didn't know. Jesuit priest Godehard Bruentrup is a professor of philosophy at the Munich Jesuit College.  

    "I cannot see that there is a direct responsibility by Ratzinger for the reassignment of Huellermann to pastoral work - maybe an indirect one because that's where the buck stops, so to speak," said Godehard Bruentrup.

    But, the Pope is also known for toughening up the laws against sexual abuse in the Church.  

    Still, questions remain from his time as head of the Vatican's main office of doctrine and why Cardinal Ratzinger chose not to discipline or defrock the American priest, the Reverend Lawrence Murphy.  

    Francis Rocca, Vatican correspondent for the Religion News Service, says he believes the Pope is aware of the implications of these cases.

    "I expect him to address the German situation as he did the Irish and I'll bet you that you'll see some kind of language that will - using very papal rhetoric, acknowledge that the way the bishops were dealing with it in 1980 or thereabouts, when he was in that role, was we now know, not the best way," said Francis Rocca.

    For many, papal rhetoric will not be enough.

    "That's simply not good enough," said Isely. "They need to start using words that describe these things and what they've done about it."

    Observers like Rocca think there will be a positive side.

    "I think on balance it will be positive in the sense that it is stimulating a recognition beyond the shores of North America, that this needs to be dealt with better," he said.

    Many say new directives from the Vatican on allegations of abuse will be the first result.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora