Page last updated at 19:09 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Catholic Church abuse case: Your comments

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI has been accused of failing to act on complaints, before he became pontiff, about a US priest who allegedly abused 200 deaf boys.

As a cardinal heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican office that dealt with sex abuse cases, the future pontiff allegedly failed to respond to letters about the case.

BBC News Online readers have sent their thoughts.


If he was involved in a cover-up he needs to be answerable no matter how long ago or who he is!
Rona Dennis, Merseyside, England

I think the Catholic Church really needs to be far more transparent about its recent history. If only because of the senior positions that he has held within the church. It's likely that the current Pope is going to be implicated again and again as more and more of these types of cases emerge.
Mark Norwich, Birmingham

The Catholic Church needs to change its law and allow priests to marry. Also, they need to expel those found guilty, and hand them to the proper outside authorities for conviction and prison, just like any other sex offender. We do not see justice for the victims carried out, which is wrong and outrageous. These offending priests are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly.
Steph Scott, Hampshire


This is a conspiracy to drag the Pope into anything dirty! Attacking the Church and failing to look at the culture where the abusers came from is a failure to look at the role of the society in all of this. It is high time we look at how culture has contributed to all this. Many children are being abused even in the secular world and very little is reported. Please spare the Pope from this. The Pope loves children and he will be the last person to cover up anything sinful and morally wrong. The Western world has become godless and they are using anything at their disposal to tarnish the name of the Church because of a few individuals who betrayed the Church.
Dennis, Lexington, USA

Having grown up a Catholic in the Milwaukee diocese, nothing surprises me about reports of abuse inflicted on children - mental and physical abuse were commonplace. Who would be surprised that yet another boundary was breeched? After the past few years of reports of abuse, one would think that the Church would abandon ideas of saving their image, and create a new one by understanding, supporting, prosecuting, and defrocking when necessary without such a fight!
TC, Indiana, USA

I was born and raised a Catholic. I'm so disgusted by these types of stories that I believe I'm done with the Catholic Church. Not Jesus Christ, you understand, just Catholicism. How horrible for those poor children; how can they ever trust anyone again if you can't trust a priest!
Patti Rzasda, USA

While understanding the hurt and humiliation felt by the sexually abused victims of priests, and anger that no disciplinary action was taken by the supervisors of these priests, I feel we should accept the Holy Father's apology and move on and not to continue to look to the past for reconciliation. Do not destroy the Church and go into a witch hunt. We need healing and closure, and institute a system to ensure we do not repeat past lax attitude towards deviant priests and uncaring supervisors of the Faith.
Leslie Cheong, Singapore

It would seem to me that the World knows of all the cover ups and the only thing the Church can do is admit they have been wrong and begin taking truthful actions.
Jeffrey Combs, Denver, Colorado, USA

The only way the Church will ever get out of this situation is if the entire "chain of knowledge" is prosecuted along with the perpetrators. If, in a business, one commits fraud and others in the organisation assist, or work to cover it up, all can be charged under conspiracy to defraud. Why would this Church, or any other, not have to function under the same simple rules? Aside from the moral implications, assisting someone in the act or cover up of a crime is illegal. Prosecute those involved - all of them, all the time.
HJP, Dallas, Texas, USA

This is certainly a calculated ploy by detractors to undermine Pope Benedict's credibility as well as rubbish the image of the Catholic Church. It is very objectionable for people to rake up what happened decades ago with little or no proof at all, just to distract the Church.
Henry Anyaka, Enugu-Nigeria

This news is so disheartening. As a Catholic it really brings home how hypocritical the Catholic Church really is, and it is only interested in the negative publicity that these stories of abuse bring on the Church. At the end of the day no matter where the buck stops with the Pope, he needs to address this head on. Maybe he should resign or maybe it's time to allow priests to marry and then we may not have to deal with these sordid stories of sexual abuse.
Michelle, Antigua

There are complaints if the civil authorities are not involved, there are complaints if people want the Church to take the leadership role over and above civil authorities. The Church needs everything out in the open - get all the dirty laundry out in public. Most priests are good people and the church has a lot to offer a lot of people. They just need to sort it out so there is no more drip feeding of the scandal which does no one any good.
Robert, Ireland

I'm an Argentine Catholic living in Switzerland and I firmly believe that until the Vatican allows priests to marry this will continue to be an on-going problem.
George Handley, Lausanne, Switzerland

Jesus said let the one who has not sinned be the first to stone the sinner. It is easy to find faults with priests and I am sorry about it, but raking up issues which are more than 20-years-old is not right. The Catholic Church should teach the Ten Commandments and be very strict with priests and stop cover-ups in future.
Ray, Kenya

The truth is that the Church is doing something about abuse. Having worked for the past 10 years for various parishes within the US Church, I can vouch for the fact that I and my colleagues have been fingerprinted numerous times, and have attended workshops on understanding and preventing abuse, as well as how to go about reporting incidents of abuse. I am confident that the Church will survive and thrive precisely due to the fact that it is taking action.
Brian, San Diego, California, USA

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