View Full Version : BBC Documentary Links Pope Benedict To "Child Sex Abuse Cover Up"

10-03-2006, 04:32 PM
BBC documentary links pope to 'child sex abuse cover-up'

October 02, 2006 Edition 1


A British documentary has claimed that Pope Benedict XVI was implicated in the systematic cover-up of child sex abuse allegations against Cath-olic priests.

Before becoming head of the church, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger enforced doc-trinal orthodoxy. This included a "secret Vatican decree which seemed to shelter the perpetrators and silence the victims of abuse", the Panorama programme said yesterday.

This was the 1962 document Crimen Solicitationis, which told top churchmen how to deal with priests who "solicit or provoke the penitent toward im-pure and obscene matters", ac-cording to a translation from Latin on the BBC website.

It imposed an oath of secre-cy on victims, witnesses and those probing abuse claims and said that anyone breaking this would be excommunicated, the BBC said.

Father Tom Doyle, a canon solicitor reportedly sacked by the Vatican after criticising its handling of child abuse claims, told the BBC that Crimen was "an explicit, written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy, to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen".

The programme's claims have provoked a furious res-ponse from the Catholic Church in Britain.

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, told Britain's Press Association that the programme had used Vatican documents "quite misleadingly in order to connect the horrors of child abuse to the person of the pope".

Speaking on behalf of bishops in England and Wales, he accused the BBC of "a deeply prejudiced attack on a revered world religious leader".

He said the Catholic Church in England and Wales was working to protect children with transparency and care.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster in central London and spiritual leader of Cath-olics in England and Wales, has written to Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, to protest about the program-me.

The BBC said it was standing by it and would respond to the letter when they received it.

Panorama told its viewers the Vatican had failed to res-pond to requests for aninterview.- Sapa-AP