Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Five children among seven killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

Europe

Ex-Pope breaks silence to deny sex abuse cover-up

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-25

Seven months after leaving the papacy, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has unexpectedly broken his self-imposed silence to deny he covered up for sexually abusive priests.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has broken his self-imposed silence to deny he covered up the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in a letter written to one of Italy’s best-known atheists.

“I never tried to cover these things up,” Benedict wrote to Piergiorgio Odifreddi, a mathematician and author of “Dear Pope, I am Writing to You”, a book that challenges the church on many issues including paedophilia.

“That the power of evil penetrated so far into the interior world of the faith is a suffering that we must bear, but at the same time, we must do everything to prevent it from repeating,” Benedict’s said in the unexpected letter, excerpts of which were published Tuesday in Italian daily La Repubblica.

Before he was elected pope in 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office responsible for handling abuse cases.

He was prefect when the scandal first exploded in Boston in 2002 and was the leader of the Catholic Church when it erupted on a global scale in 2010.

First time ex-pope has spoken out

Tuesday’s letter is thought to be the first time Ratzinger has defended himself publicly in the first person. As prefect he pushed through reforms in 2003 and 2004 that enabled the swift removal of abusive priests, but the move came decades after his office began receiving a steady stream of documentation about the scale of sex-abuse, victims have said.

The letter published in La Repubblica is remarkable because it was published just two weeks after Pope Francis penned a similar letter to La Repubblica’s atheist editor.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the back-to-back appearance of the letters was pure coincidence, but there is wide speculation that the two popes have been collaborating on texts, in a completely unprecedented situation at the Vatican.

Benedict stepped down on February 28, 2013, setting the stage for the election of the strikingly different Pope Francis two weeks later. At the time Benedict said he would spend his final years “hidden from the world” reading and praying.

(FRANCE24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-25

  • VATICAN

    Church must end obsession with gays and abortion, pope says

    Read more

  • VATICAN

    Pope Francis asks, 'Who am I to judge' gay people?

    Read more

  • VATICAN

    Pope urges 'mutual respect' for Christians, Muslims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)