Pope must resign over cover up of child sex abuse
Protest this Sunday against the Pope’s protection of paedophile priests
London – 25 March 2010
Protesters in London will accuse the Pope of covering up child sex abuse by Catholic clergy and demand his resignation.
The protest will take place at 12 noon this Sunday 28 March 2010 outside Westminster Cathedral (the main Catholic church in Britain) in Victoria Street, London SW1.
“In a 2001 edict to Catholic Bishops worldwide, the Pope ordered a cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. He failed to ensure that priests who raped and sexually abused young people were reported to the police. This is why he is not welcome in the UK and why we object to him being honoured with a State Visit in September, especially a State Visit that is being funded by the taxpayer,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who is helping coordinate Sunday’s protest, which is being organised by the Protest the Pope coalition: http://www.protest-the-pope.org.uk/
“He has direct personal responsibility for allowing many paedophile priests to escape justice.
“If anyone anyone else was involved in protecting paedophiles from prosecution, they’d probably be arrested as accomplices to sex crimes, not lauded with a State Visit. Why should the Pope be treated differently?
“According to a 2006 BBC Panorama programme, Sex Crimes And The Vatican, in 2001, while he was a Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI issued a secret Vatican edict to all Catholic bishops. It recommended that instead of reporting child sex abusers to the police, bishops should report them to the Vatican and encourage the victims to take an oath to not talk about the abuse they suffered. To keep victims quiet, the Pope proposed that if they broke their oath and repeated the sex abuse allegations they should be excommunicated.
“Benedict XVI put the interests and image of the church before the welfare of children and young people. He is unfit to remain as Pope. He should resign.
“The Panorama programme revealed details of the Pope’s leading role in the cover-up of the sexual assault of youths by Catholic clergy. It reported that the Vatican knowingly harboured and protected paedophile clergymen. Priests accused of child sex abuse were mostly not sacked or reported to the police but simply moved to another parish, often to reoffend. The BBC gave examples of church hush funds being used to silence the victims,” said Mr Tatchell.
The world renowned Swiss Catholic theologian, Rev Hans Kung, has accused the Pope of ‘co-responsibility’ for the cover-up of priestly child sex abuse and criticised the weakness and evasions of his recent apology. Rev Kung urged:
"In the name of truth, Joseph Ratzinger, the man who for decades was mainly responsible for the concealment of these abuses at a world level, should have pronounced a mea culpa."
'Protest the Pope' is a campaign against the Pope being honoured with a State Visit to Britain, at the taxpayer’s expense. We object to the Pope’s often harsh, intolerant views on a wide range of social issues and his cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. He is unsuitable to be honoured with a State Visit. He is not welcome on the UK.
More information about the Protest the Pope coalition:
More information about Sunday’s protest:
Peter Tatchell – 0207 403 1790
Evidence against the Pope:
BBC Panorama, Sex crimes and the Vatican, 1 October 2006.
BBC website summary:
Evening Standard, Pope 'led cover-up of child abuse by priests', 30 September 2006
Washington Post, The Great Catholic Cover-Up, 16 March 2010
New York Times, Abuse Scandal in Germany Edges Closer to Pope, 12 March 2010
The National Catholic Reporter, Ratzinger’s responsibility, 18 March 2010:
Rev Hans Kung wrote:
“In his 24 years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from around the world, all cases of grave sexual offences by clerics had to be reported, under strictest secrecy ("secretum pontificum"), to his curial office, which was exclusively responsible for dealing with them. Ratzinger himself, in a letter on "grave sexual crimes" addressed to all the bishops under the date of 18 May, 2001, warned the bishops, under threat of ecclesiastical punishment, to observe "papal secrecy" in such cases. In his five years as Pope, Benedict XVI has done nothing to change this practice with all its fateful consequences.’’