'War crime' court asked to probe Vatican over abuse
Published 14/09/2011 | 05:00
AN INTERNATIONAL clerical abuse survivors group is calling on Irish bishops to release secret files as it pursues the Vatican in a landmark legal action.
The group alleges the Pope and three senior cardinals in Rome "tolerated and enabled the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes".
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and New York-based rights group Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has lodged papers against Pope Benedict at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
SNAP president Barbara Blaine said the group wants help for their case from abuse victims around the world.
A team from SNAP and the CCR will hand out flyers outside the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin on Sunday, urging support for the case and also inviting survivors to a meeting.
The potentially ground-breaking case urges the ICC, which is the world's first permanent war crimes court, to investigate some of the church's most powerful figures including Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State and the Pope's right hand man; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a former Vatican secretary of state accused of blocking sex abuse investigations; and Cardinal William Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position once held by the Pope.