The Telegraph
Monday , March 22 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pope ‘sorry’ falls short

Vatican City, March 21: The Pope’s historic apology to victims of sex abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland has failed to satisfy critics.

Pope Benedict, whose former archdiocese in Munich has also been caught up in the scandal, said he shared in the “dismay and sense of betrayal” of many Catholics.

The Pope issued a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics following a series of damning revelations alleging senior bishops in Ireland had been involved in covering up the crimes.

However, it failed to mention the cases of abuse that have emerged in other countries that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent weeks.

Priests in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico and in the Pope’s former diocese in Germany have been accused of mistreating children.

Victims’ groups said that they were disappointed that the letter only referred to Ireland and did not admit that the abuse was systematically covered-up.

Furthermore, the Pope did not, as victims’ abuse groups in Ireland have called for, make it clear that priests or bishops who learn of sex abuse cases should report them to police.

“We feel the letter falls far short of addressing the concerns of the victims,” said Maeve Lewis, executive director of victims group One in Four. “Clerical sex abuse is not just an Irish phenomenon or indeed an Anglophone phenomenon as the Vatican has tried to assert. Events in the past weeks show that this is so.”

The closest the Pope came to acknowledging there had been cover-ups of paedophile priests was in a reference to “misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal”.

Instead, he concentrated on addressing the pain felt by the victims of abuse in Ireland and making clear he was deeply upset at the crimes committed by Catholic clergy.

A victim of sexual abuse is poised to publicly accuse Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of the German Catholic Church of having protected a paedophile priest. A priest named Franz B is alleged to have abused at least 17 children in a Bavarian parish between 1968 and 1991.

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