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    Abuse protesters call on Pope to resign

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    ODN

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    Protesters gathered outside the main Catholic church in the UK to call for the Pope's resignation over clerical sex abuse.


    Carrying placards stating "Pope Protects Paedophile Priests - Resign!" and "Sex Abuse Cover Up - Pope Must Resign" demonstrators confronted the congregation as it left Westminster Cathedral in central London.


    They claim that Pope Benedict XVI was complicit in protecting priests accused of child sex abuse from prosecution. As such many object to the pontiff's planned state visit to the UK in September.


    Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was among about three dozen demonstrators. He said that the Pope "bears personal responsibility for the cover up".


    The Pope himself has been subjected to increased scrutiny over how he dealt with sex abuse cases in the past.


    As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he was involved in the decision to send Rev Peter Hullermann, accused of abusing boys, to Munich for therapy. He was allowed to return to pastoral duties just days later. Hullermann was eventually convicted in 1986.


    The church has insisted the then Cardinal Ratzinger was unaware of the decision to allow Hullerman to return to pastoral work. But the New York Times reported on Friday that he was included on a memo stating that this would be the case.


    The Pope also stands accused of intervening to halt a church trial of Father Lawrence Murphy, an American priest alleged to have abused up to 200 deaf boys between 1950 and 1975.