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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs