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    Vatican continues to face criticism over abuse


    by ODN


    As the Vatican prepares for Easter Sunday the Catholic church faces accusations it did not do enough to stop sexual abuse of children by priests.

    People gathering in St. Peter's on Saturday suggested Pope Benedict might use Easter Mass to address the issue.

    "I think he (the Pope) should be more clear, he should speak about the Church and give his opinion, so I think things have to change," said Dutch tourist Andrew Wouters.

    Headlines in newspapers covered the story that has come perilously close to the pope, as victims demand answers on how he handled the cases before his election in 2005.

    A Milwaukee victim of a Wisconsin priest who was accused of sexually abusing as many as 200 boys at a Milwaukee school for the deaf said earlier in the week that Pope Benedict should be held accountable for doing nothing.

    Arthur Budzinski, a 61-year-old Milwaukee printer who is deaf, spoke through his daughter, Gigi, about how his "innocence was stolen from him" by the accused abuser, Rev Lawrence Murphy, who died in 1998 at age 72.

    In 1996, Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland wrote a letter citing Murphy's abuses to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the Vatican's top doctrinal official and now Pope Benedict. The archbishop did not receive a reply.

    As the US church took steps to try Murphy in secret in 1998, as directed by the Vatican office, the priest appealed directly to Ratzinger.

    Murphy asked to be left alone, saying he was in ill health having suffered a stroke, and had repented acts committed years earlier, according to the documents. The Vatican office halted the investigation.

    Many support groups, church experts and theologians have also called for the Pope to open up files on pedophile Catholic clerics worldwide and immediately defrock those who prey on children.

    The Vatican hit out at heavy public criticism on Friday saying that accusations about Pope Benedict's handling of sexual abuse cases were 'ingnoble' attacks on the pontiff.