Pope Benedict XVI
The Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, has said that he will convey calls to the Pope for the Church to release its files on sex abuse to the relevant police authorities worldwide.
This according to the Protest the Pope campaign, which met with Smith at New Scotland Yard in London. The meeting was called at the Archbishops’ request and with the approval of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.
To date, the Pope has refused to do open the files, insisting on “Papal Secrecy”. The Vatican has also claimed that homosexuality among priests is to blame for the Church’s child abuse scandals, and not celibacy.
“The largest part of the meeting involved our request for the Pope to give his sex abuse evidence to the police. We are pleased and reassured that Archbishop Smith agreed to forward our request,” said gay rights activist Peter Tatchell of the Protest the Pope campaign.
“The Pope’s condemnation of sex abuse by clergy will never be taken seriously until he agrees to pass to the police in countries around world the evidence the Vatican has compiled on child molesting priests, bishops and cardinals. Keeping these files secret is wrong and collusion with criminal acts,” said Tatchell.
The Protest the Pope campaign have been protesting the Pontiff’s upcoming visit to the UK because of the Catholic Church’s continued anti-gay stance and conservative viewpoint.
The campaign has insisted that the British government must “disassociate itself from the Pope’s intolerant teachings on issues such as women’s rights, contraception, gay equality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV”.
Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland from 16 to 19 September, in part funded by British taxpayers.