Pope Benedict XVI: Pastoral Letter - Address Irish Abuse Scandal
Pope Benedict XVI: Promises Vatican Pastoral Letter to address Irish Catholic Church Abuse Scandal
Pope Benedict XVI is promising to start the process of healing in a growing European Catholic Church abuse scandal beginning with Ireland, and the Catholic Irish Church.
The pope says a pastoral letter will be delivered to Catholic Church in Ireland, addressed to Irish Catholics and the people of Ireland.
Speaking on Wednesday in English , the pope said he would sign a promised pastoral letter to Irish Catholics on Friday and send it out soon afterwards. He said the Irish church had been “severely shaken” and he was “deeply concerned.”
Irish government investigations revealed an extensive Irish Church abuse scandal - a scandal that occurred and was covered up by three Irish Archdioceses involving at least 15,000 children over 70 years between the 1930s and 1990s,
Several Irish bishops have agreed to resign, including two who stepped down on Christmas Day, but others have flatly refused. The pope, for his part, hasn't accepted the resignation offers of three bishops implicated in Catholic abuse cover-ups in Dublin.
The Irish abuse scandal is one of multiple scandals hitting the Catholic Church across Europe - Netherlands, Austria, and Germany have also been hit with abuse scandals. The scandal involving the Catholic Church in Germany hits particularly close to home for the Bavarian born Pope Benedict XVI.
More than 250 people were abused in Church run schools over the last few decades in Germany. In particular the pope's brother Rev. Georg Ratzinger ran the Regensburg Choir for three decades which has linked to cases of abuse.
His brother, Rev. Georg Ratzinger, has admitted to repeatedly slapping boys in his Regensburg choir. Ettal Abbey, scene of brutal beatings and sexual abuse in the past, is located in the archdiocese which the Pope once headed as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Merkel's Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has accused the Vatican of covering up scandals and pressed the bishops to cooperate with prosecutors "like in Ireland."
It is unclear exactly how specific the Pope's letter regarding the Irish scandal will be but some observers say it may well address the broader issue of the church and abuse in general.