Pope says to apologise for sex abuse in Australia

Broken Rites, which represents abuse victims in Australia, has a list of 107 convictions for church abuse, but says the real number of cases is far greater as only a few go to court.

Pope says to apologise for sex abuse in Australia
Pope Benedict said on Saturday he will apologise for a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Australia, saying paedophilia was "incompatible" with being a priest.

Speaking at a news conference on the plane taking him to Australia, the Pope said he would make similar comments to those during a trip to the United States last April. Then, he made apology for sexual abuse a major part of his visit, meeting victims and vowing to keep paedophiles out of the priesthood.

"It is essential for the Church to reconcile, to prevent, to help and to see guilt in this problem," he said on Saturday.

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers in Australia have been calling on Benedict to apologise when he arrives in Sydney on Sunday for World Youth Day.

Broken Rites, which represents abuse victims in Australia, has a list of 107 convictions for church abuse, but says the real number of cases is far greater as only a few go to court.

Victims of abuse by clergy plan to protest during the Pope's visit. A group called "No Pope" will meanwhile hand out condoms in protest at church doctrine and protest extra police powers during the papal visit that it says crush civil liberties.

Only days before the Pope's arrival, a 25-year-old sexual abuse case involving a Sydney priest was reopened after Cardinal George Pell, the head of the Catholic church in Australia, denied he tried to cover up the abuse.

Pell denied he misled Anthony Jones, who complained of abuse by a priest, when he wrote Jones a letter in 2003 rejecting his claim because there were no other complaints against the priest.

Pell wrote to another man on the same day upholding his abuse claim against the same priest. The priest was stood down and in 2005 convicted of indecently assaulting Jones in 1982.

On Friday, Pell reopened the case, referring it to an independent review panel.

Organisers of World Youth Day expect hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims for the event, with Pope Benedict conducting several religious events culminating in a final open-air mass at Sydney's main horse racing track.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Temmuz 2008, 10:14
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