Saturday, March 27, 2010

Abuse Accusation Against Italian Church & Pope

A group of deaf men who say they were abused in the Catholic church appeared on Italian TV. The three former students claim two dozen priests had for decades abused children at a school for the deaf in Verona. The accused include Bishop of Verona from 1958-78 who died in 1981 and some have sought to have beatified, a crucial step on the road to sainthood. The current Bishop of Verona accused them of “hallucinating” until one of the accused lay brothers admitted sexual relations with pupils. Last summer the diocese forwarded its files on the abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which took no action until last month. The Italian Bishops Conference has agreed to form a “task force” to collect evidence of paedophilia.

The Church’s account of how much the current Pope knew about a German paedophile priest is being called into question since a memo came to light, showing he led a meeting in 1980 during which the transfer of an offending priest was approved and the information about the man's abuse of children was kept from the leaders of the place to which he was being transfered. Peter Hullermann had been sent to the Munich Diocese for “therapy” after molesting a boy. Hullermann was convicted of sexual abuse in 1986. He was still working in the church until this month when he was suspended for breaking a promise not to have contact with children and young people.