Washington: A US Roman Catholic bishop whose archdiocese has been rocked by a child sex scandal has defended Pope Benedict XVI against accusations he allowed the pedophilia outrage to happen.
Archbishop of Milwaukee Jerome Listecki, whose archdiocese was stung by a scandal involving a serial pedophile priest, apologized to all victims of clergy sexual abuse at a mass on Tuesday.
"This crime, this sin, this horror should never occur, especially by a priest," Listecki said at the Chrism mass, where priests renew the commitments they made at their ordination.
"Those who committed these crimes and those, including some bishops, who didn`t do everything in their power to stop it, go against everything the Church and the priesthood represent," he said.
But Listecki stood up for the pope, who at least three times in the past week has been accused of turning a blind eye to the actions of pedophile priests when he was archbishop of Munich and later when he led the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the moral watchdog of the church.
"The Holy Father has been firm in his commitment to combat clergy sexual abuse; root it out of the Church; reach out to those who have been harmed; and hold perpetrators accountable," Listecki said.
"He has been a leader, meeting with victims/survivors and chastising bishops for their lack of judgment and leadership," Listecki added.
"I believe, and history will confirm, that his actions in responding to this crisis, swiftly and decisively, and his compassionate response to victims/survivors, speak for themselves."
Last week, a victim of Father Lawrence Murphy, who allegedly molested up to 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee between the 1950s and 1970s, said the pope knew about the accused serial pedophile priest and should be held accountable for Murphy`s actions.
Days later, the pope was accused of approving, in 1980 when he was archbishop of Munich in his native Germany, the transfer from one German parish to another of a priest accused of pedophilia.
And on Tuesday, a lawyer for a man who claims he was molested as a teen by a priest in Miami said the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger "lost the paperwork" when a US bishop began the process of defrocking the abusive priest.