Victims' support group urges Pope to admit cover-up
VICTIM support group One in Four has called on Pope Benedict to admit that the Catholic Church operated a deliberate policy of covering up child sex abuse.
In advance of the Pope's letter to the faithful this weekend, the campaign group for victims of sexual abuse yesterday issued its own 'papal letter'.
Its version of the letter from the Pope reads: "I want to say clearly and unequivocally that the Catholic Church at the highest levels has always known about the clerical sexual abuse of children.
"We have pursued a deliberate policy of cover-up, protecting sex offenders in order to avoid scandal, with no regard for the safety of children ... For this I am deeply sorry."
One in Four's letter commits the church to a mandatory system of reporting all sexual abuse allegations to the authorities and the resignation of all senior clerics whose behaviour endangered children.
Last night, there were indications that the Pope would give the unambiguous assurance that bishops are obliged under state law to report complaints to the gardai and the health authorities.