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Abuse scandal scars cannot be hidden: Pope

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday told Italian bishops that the Church`s scars from the predator priest scandal could not be hidden.

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI today told
Italian bishops that the Church`s scars from the predator
priest scandal could not be hidden, as abuse cases begin to
come under the spotlight in the country.

The bishops` evangelical mission "does not hide the
wounds that scar the Church community because of the weakness
and the sin of some of its members," the pope said.

Italy seemed to be spared by the series of sex abuse
revelations rocking European and American churches in past
months, but since last week cases have been coming under the
national spotlight.

On Tuesday, a top bishop gave the first official figure
on cases in Italy saying the Church had carried out about 100
canonical investigations of priests suspected of abuse in the
country over the past 10 years.

The bishops` conference did not say how many priests were
found guilty.

A 73-year-old priest in northern Italy was arrested on
Monday over allegations that he sexually abused an alleged
victim from the age of 13 to 16, while last week for the first
time a bishop testified in a trial against a priest accused of

"This humble and hurtful acknowledgement should not make
us forget the free and passionate service of so many
believers, starting with priests," the Pope said.

The Catholic Church has for months been embroiled in a
series of sex abuse scandals amid allegations that the Vatican
had shielded predator priests from prosecution in several
European countries and the United States.


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