Groups call for Pope to be prosecuted
A small protest took place last weekend to call for the Pope to be prosecuted over the paedophile priests scandal.
An estimated 50 people, some of whom were from gay and humanist associations, met outside Westminster Cathedral on Palm Sunday.
They held signs reading ‘Pope resign’ and ‘Pope protected paedophile priests’.
The protest was organised by a campaign called ‘Protest the Pope’. It was set up after Pope Benedict XVI announced he would visit Britain in September.
The group argues that the visit must not be funded by the taxpayer due to the pontiff’s “intolerant” views on homosexuality, abortion, contraception and women.
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Critics also claim that he helped cover up abuse of Catholic children by priests.
There have been allegations in the past few weeks that the Pope was aware of paedophiles continuing to work as priests
He was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 and it was alleged earlier this month that he sent one paedophile priest to therapy in 1980. The priest reoffended and was convicted, although he continues to work as a priest to this day.
Abuse victims have also spoken of being made to sign confidentially agreements about their experiences under the threat of excommunication.
Protest organiser Peter Tatchell said that the Pope was “personally responsible for the cover-up”.
Mr Tatchell said: “The Pope knew about child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. He failed to stop it and he failed to report the abusers to the police. His moral authority is irreversibly tarnished. He should resign.
“We intend to investigate whether the Pope can be prosecuted as an accomplice to child sex abuse. If anyone anyone else was involved in protecting paedophiles from prosecution, they’d probably be arrested as accomplices. Why should the Pope be treated differently?
“There is strong evidence of his collusion with sex abusing clergy. We believe the Pope should face a criminal investigation on charges of complicity.”