The Pope is under further pressure over the Church child abuse scandal, with fresh fallout from the crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Europe, another Bishop has quit. In the US, a lawsuit has been filed against Benedict XVI.
It was lodged on behalf of an alleged victim of the late Father Lawrence Murphy, who, it is claimed, molested some 200 boys at a school for the deaf. In 1995, the victim wrote to the then Vatican Secretary of State but says there was no reply.
It is claimed the Pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was made aware of the allegations but failed to act.
The Vatican has dismissed the lawsuit as illegitimate.
Addressing claims of a cover-up, the Pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told Euronews that failing to face up to such issues goes back to a time when there was a culture of discretion, not only within the Church but in society in general. But this does not, he acknowledged, excuse the Church from facing up to its responsibility today, with total transparency and clarity needed.
The Catholic Church in Belgium is in shock today after the Bishop of Bruges stood down. The Pope has accepted the resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, who has admittted sexually abusing a boy, before and after he became a Bishop. He said he profoundly regretted what he had done.
After a bishop in Germany offered to resign this week over physically abusing children, government sponsored talks on the scandal have been held. A quarter of Germany’s Catholics are considering quitting the church according to a survey, amid reports of hundreds of cases of abuse by clerics, some of them many decades old.