The Pope has held talks with Germany’s top bishop in Rome amid an escalating sexual abuse crisis rocking the Catholic church.
At least 170 former pupils from schools in Germany have recently claimed they were physically and sexually abused by priests, including at an all-boys choir once led by Benedict’s XVI brother.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said the pontiff had been deeply moved as he was briefed on the scandal during a meeting at the Vatican.
Earlier Zollitsch apologised to victims, promising to cooperate with prosecutors.
‘‘We want to unveil the truth and we want we want this to be cleared up honestly, free from any incorrect considerations. Even if we’ll discover cases that date back to tens years ago – the victims have a right to know.’‘
Benedict has not spoken publicly on the German scandal but has denounced the sexual abuse of children as a ‘heinous crime.
Journalist and Vatican expert Marco Politi said:
‘‘The policy of Benedict XVI is to be very strong against this phenomenon….. “And he will write a letter to the Irish Bishops which will be of importance for the whole world because it will be the first document of a contemporary Pope against paedophilia.’‘
Scandals in Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands have all recently shaken the church but the allegations in Germany are particularly sensitive as they stem from Benedict’s homeland.