The Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has come under renewed pressure over fresh allegations of abuse.
In an unprecedented move, he and the Vatican have been named in a lawsuit in a US federal court by an alleged victim.
The man’s lawyer wants the Vatican to release confidential documents, not compensation. It is the first time this has been done.
“This is the first case we have brought directly and exclusively against the Vatican and the first case in which there has ever been a demand for this kind of relief against the Vatican,” explained Jeff Anderson, the victim’s lawyer.
The case centres on a letter from the alleged victim written in 1995 to the Vatican. In it, the man claims he was molested over a number of years by the late Father Lawrence Murphy. It is yet another blow to the church as it grapples with these scandals.
Father Federico Lombardi, Head of the Vatican Press Office, hinted the latest scandals could be the work of people with an agenda against the Church.
“The situation has improved. The point is that, as the debate was re-launched in Europe in these last months, this gave, in some ways, spontaneously, some groups which, let’s say, don’t look upon the Church with favour, the occasion to re-open the debate, also in the United States, where actually the question had already been largely treated,” he said.
In Germany, Bishop Walter Mixa has submitted a letter of resignation to the Pope over allegations he beat children in the Augsburg diocese. Further news is set to rock the church with reports that a Bishop in Belgium has resigned.
And from St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Euronews will this evening present a special analysis programme looking at the abuse scandals that have rocked the church worldwide.