Vatican City: The head of the US Catholic
Church on Thursday defended Pope Benedict XVI`s record in fighting
priestly paedophilia, praising the pontiff for introducing
measures to combat the scourge.
"It was Pope Benedict who gave us, in different ways,
the ability to handle this crisis more quickly and in a way
that helps to heal," Chicago Archbishop Francis George told
George said the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as
head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),
"enabled us to keep the predators out of the priesthood
permanently in ways that were not possible before and...
encouraged us to reach out to victims."
"None of that would have been possible had it not
been for the legal permission and pastoral impetus of Pope
Benedict," George said.
Benedict headed the CDF for 24 years from 1981 until
2005. Paedophile priest scandals have erupted in Italy, The
Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the pope`s native
Germany, while Ireland and the United States have been rocked
by claims of Church cover-ups of abuse committed decades ago.
"This will remain with us as long as victims are
alive, because the effects on victims are long-lasting and we
shouldn`t think that we can put this simply behind us," George