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Accountability

More documents link Ratzinger to abuse cases

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More documents have been discovered linking Pope Benedict to particular cases in the clergy sex abuse scandal, and other regions of the world are being drawn into the scandal. Meanwhile, supporters of the pope continue to defend his actions, with one calling Benedict "a coherent guide along the path of rigor and truth" and "a pastor well capable of facing -- with great rectitude and confidence -- this difficult time."

Bishop in Norway retired after abuse allegation

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VATICAN CITY -- A German-born bishop who headed a prelature in Norway admitted that his resignation last year was linked to the sexual abuse of a minor.

(Editor's Note: Some information in this story was corrected April 8.)

Bishop Georg Muller, 58, submitted a request to step down as prelate of Trondheim, Norway, in May 2009 and Pope Benedict XVI "quickly accepted" the request June 8, according to a Vatican press release.

Victims of clergy abuse call for October summit in Rome

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Two of the five sex abuse victims who met Pope Benedict XVI during his April 2008 visit to the United States, and who pledged at the time to "hold his feet to the fire," have announced plans to stage a "Day of Reformation" for the Catholic church in Rome on Oct. 31, amid a mushrooming crisis which threatens to engulf the pope himself.

Bernie McDaid and Olan Horne, who met Benedict XVI on April 17, 2008 -- the first-ever meeting between a pope and survivors of sexual abuse -- said today that they intend to gather thousands of victims, along with church reform activists and ordinary "people in the pews," in Rome on Oct. 31. They're asking that Benedict XVI participate, and that the event be simulcast to Catholic churches around the world.

They also called on priests "who know in their hearts that their church is in dire need of change" to join them.

Abuse victims meet with Irish cardinal

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DUBLIN, Ireland -- Victims of clergy sexual abuse met with Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, and said they still believed the cardinal should resign.

Amid continuing investigations into clerical child abuse and the high-level church cover-up of that abuse, the cardinal held a series of meetings March 31 with representatives of the survivors of clerical child abuse and representatives of those who suffered neglect and mistreatment while in the care of religious-run institutions, such as orphanages and industrial schools.

Cardinal Levada says New York Times unfair

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. cardinal who succeeded Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Vatican doctrinal congregation said a recent news story and editorial in The New York Times about the pope's handling of past sex abuse cases "are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness."

A lengthy critique by Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of a March 26 article by Laurie Goodstein and a related New York Times editorial was published March 30 on the Web site of Catholic San Francisco, archdiocesan newspaper. Cardinal Levada was archbishop of San Francisco until his 2005 Vatican appointment.

Priest at Wis. trial calls news reports inaccurate

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A priest who was involved in the canonical trial of a priest accused of abusing deaf children decades ago says news reports about Pope Benedict XVI's involvement in the case are based on "sloppy and inaccurate reporting."

"I have no reason to believe that (then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) was involved at all" in the case of Father Lawrence Murphy, who served at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee from 1950 to 1974, said Father Thomas Brundage, who was presiding judge in the 1996-98 trial against Father Murphy on charges of child sexual abuse and solicitation within the confessional.

Bishops voice concern for abuse victims, praise pope's leadership

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WASHINGTON -- Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voiced concern for victims of clergy sexual abuse while offering praise for Pope Benedict XVI's long-standing leadership in dealing with abuse cases.

In a Holy Week statement issued March 30, members of the Executive Committee of the USCCB said they are aware of the pope's concern for abuse victims and "how he has strengthened the church's response to victims."

'Abuse tsunami'

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News of the long-standing, systematic abuse of pupils by Jesuit teachers at prestigious schools in Germany in the 1970s and ’80s first hit world headlines Jan. 29, when Jesuit Fr. Klaus Mertes, rector since 1994 of the “Canisius-Kolleg,” an elite Jesuit high school in Berlin, broke the story to the press.

While both the Vatican and the order had known of the abuse, the accusations had been suppressed. Mertes said two abuse victims had approached him six years ago, but both had begged him not to tell anyone about the abuse and so he did not report it at the time.

Church reformers have second thoughts on pope

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To many advocates of reform in the Catholic church, the election of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pope in April 2005 was a blow to hopes the Vatican would change positions on gender, sexuality, divorce, and the church hierarchy.

Yet the result encouraged three prominent reformers who were appointed to a U.S. bishops' National Review Board. The three American Catholics -- a judge, an attorney and a newspaper publisher -- were concerned mainly with the clergy sex scandal.

They had met with Ratzinger in his Vatican office in 2004 for an extensive discussion on the cover-ups of clergy sex abuse of children, and came to view Ratzinger as the best churchman anywhere on the issue. A year later, when he became Pope Benedict XVI, they were often quoted praising him in American news articles.

But that was then.

The recent clamor over media revelations about two priests whose abuse cases were adjudicated under Ratzinger's watch have led two of the three panel members who met with Ratzinger to reconsider their views.

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April 11-24, 2014

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