News / Europe

Child Abuse Scandal Divides Catholics, Church

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Britain for a four-day State visit, as the Catholic Church is reeling in the wake of Child abuse scandals in Europe and America.  Victims of abuse by priests are calling for the Vatican to do more to protect children.

Fresh wave of scandals

Pope Benedict says he is shocked by revelations of child abuse and called it difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible.

Belgium's Catholic Church revealed this month that hundreds of children had been abused by Roman Catholic priests dating back 50 years.  The abuses took place in nearly every diocese and Catholic school in Belgium.

The revelation of abuse is a latest in a series of scandals that has shaken the Catholic Church.  Barbara Blaine, with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, says she was abused as a teenager by a priest in Toledo, in the U.S. state of Ohio.  She is in Britain calling for the church to do more about abuse.

"We are asking that the Pope and the Vatican establish a worldwide database with the names of all of the known and credibly accused predator priests," Blaine said. "We believe that this names should be made public, so that children can be protected today and so that other victims who have been hurt will find healing and comfort."

The Bishop of Westminster, John Arnold, says the church has strong procedures in place to combat abuse. "The Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland has done a great deal in making a one-church approach to improve the situation and to introduce better practice regarding safeguarding," he said.

Church response

The head of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, Bill Kilgallon, is in charge of responding to charges of abuse by clergy and others affiliated with the church. "We are very strongly of the view in this country that the statutory authorities have to be involved from the beginning so that there is not any opportunity for cover up," Kilgallon states.

Kilgallon does believe the church needs to respond better to victims of abuse. "I think our main area that we need to do better on in the Church of England and Wales is the way we deal with people who have been abused," he said.

No longer silenced

The founder of Britain's National Association for People Abused in Childhood, Peter Saunders, says he was abused by a Catholic priest as a child just a couple of kilometers from the London suburb where Pope Benedict will be staying.  He says the church continues to shroud abuse in secrecy. "They do not want adult survivors talking about it," he says, "because it shines a spotlight on their murky disgusting abusive world."

The pope is expected to meet privately with survivors of child abuse during his visit to Britain, but not with the main protest groups.   

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid