Pope Says to Apologise for Sex Abuse in Australia

By Philip Pullella
EcoDiario (Spain)
July 12, 2008 Pope-says-to-apologise-for-sex-abuse-in-Australia.html

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said onSaturday he will apologise for a sexual abuse scandal that hasrocked the Catholic Church in Australia, saying paedophilia was"incompatible" with being a priest.

Speaking at a news conference on the plane taking him toAustralia, the Pope said he would make similar comments tothose during a trip to the United States last April. Then, hemade apology for sexual abuse a major part of his visit,meeting victims and vowing to keep paedophiles out of thepriesthood.

"It is essential for the Church to reconcile, to prevent,to help and to see guilt in this problem," he said on Saturday.

"It must be clear ... that being a real priest isincompatible with this (sexual abuse) because priests are inthe service of our Lord."

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers inAustralia have been calling on Benedict to apologise when hearrives in Sydney on Sunday for World Youth Day.

Broken Rites, which represents abuse victims in Australia,has a list of 107 convictions for church abuse, but says thereal number of cases is far greater as only a few go to court.

Victims of abuse by clergy plan to protest during thePope's visit. A group called "No Pope" will meanwhile hand outcondoms in protest at church doctrine and protest extra policepowers during the papal visit that it says crush civilliberties.

Only days before the Pope's arrival, a 25-year-old sexualabuse case involving a Sydney priest was reopened afterCardinal George Pell, the head of the Catholic church inAustralia, denied he tried to cover up the abuse.

Pell denied he misled Anthony Jones, who complained ofabuse by a priest, when he wrote Jones a letter in 2003rejecting his claim because there were no other complaintsagainst the priest.

Pell wrote to another man on the same day upholding hisabuse claim against the same priest. The priest was stood downand in 2005 convicted of indecently assaulting Jones in 1982.

On Friday, Pell reopened the case, referring it to anindependent review panel.

Organisers of World Youth Day expect hundreds of thousandsof young pilgrims for the event, with Pope Benedict conductingseveral religious events culminating in a final open-air massat Sydney's main horse racing track


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