A government-sponsored report said on Wednesday the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland continued to conceal the sexual abuse of children by priests even after it introduced rules in the mid-1990s to protect minors.
(Photo: Girl waves papal flag before a Mass with Pope Benedict in London September 18, 2010/Kevin Coombs)
Pope Benedict apologized to victims of sexual abuse on Saturday, saying pedophile priests had brought "shame and humiliation" on him and the entire Roman Catholic Church. It was the 83-year-old pontiff's latest attempt to come to grips with the scandal that has rocked the 1.1 billion-member Church, particularly in Europe and the United States.
(Photo: Mark Fabbro, Chris Daly, Sue Cox, Margaret Kennedy and Peter Saunders (L-R), who said they were survivors of abuse by Catholic priests, pose after a news conference in London September 15, 2010/Toby Melville)
Victims of abuse by Catholic priests urged the Vatican on the eve of Pope Benedict's visit to Britain to hand over lists of suspected offenders to the police to prevent further cases of clerical sex crimes.
One regular but regularly unannounced feature of papal trips in recent years has been the private meeting with local Catholics who were sexually abused as youths by priests. Journalists only find out about them after they've taken place. Just such a meeting seems to be on the cards during Pope Benedict's visit to Britain next week, but of course it does not appear in his official schedule. Chris Patten, the prime minister's special representative for the papal visit, said as much on Monday in an interview with BBC television (quote at the end of the clip):