April 20, 2005

Sex-abuse victims: New pope needs to reach out

Boston Herald

By Franci Richardson
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - Updated: 03:17 AM EST

The newly appointed pope has been known as the late Holy Father's ``enforcer'' and God's Rottweiler because of his conservative stance, but survivors of clergy sexual abuse hope he'll make room in his heart for them.

``We've seen left-wing and right-wing bishops shun victims, minimize the abuse and play legal hardball,'' national spokesman David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said. ``The fact that he's conservative in and of itself doesn't necessarily trouble us.''

What was troubling, Clohessy said, was when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI - in December 2002 called the sex-abuse scandal an ``intentional, manipulated . . . desire to discredit the church by the media.''

But the German cardinal redeemed himself in the eyes of survivors last year when he reopened a Vatican probe into the Rev. Marcial Maciel, a priest accused of abuse who remains in good standing with the church.

Posted by kshaw at April 20, 2005 08:10 AM