Pope Benedict XVINot only has the scandal of abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests struck Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany, as I blogged already, the most recent revelation from Germany has come even closer to the Pope … by surfacing in a cathedral choir which had been run by the Pope’s brother. Reuters reports, via the New York Times, on this development (WebCite cached article):

Germany’s Roman Catholic Church revealed charges of priests beating and sexually abusing boys in at least three schools in Pope Benedict’s native Bavaria on Friday, one linked to a renowned choir once led by his brother.

The charges at the cathedral choir in Regensburg, the Benedictine monastery school at Ettal and a Capucian school in Burghausen came to light after abuse cases revealed at Jesuit schools around the country shocked the country last month.

Rev Georg Ratzinger, 86, who led the choir from 1964 to 1994, told Bavarian Radio he knew nothing of any abuse at the “Regensburger Domspatzen” (Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows) choir, which regularly performs on tours in Germany and abroad.

At this point the Pope’s brother is not implicated in any of the abuse. The Regensburg diocese admitted to some abuse, decades ago, which had been prosecuted:

The diocese said in a statement that one priest had abused two boys sexually in 1958 and was sentenced to two years in jail. Another clergyman served 11 months in jail in 1971 for abuse. Both men have since died.

It said three men claimed to have suffered sexual abuse as well as beatings and humiliation in the early 1960s while at boarding schools connected to the choir. The diocese was investigating these cases and more could be revealed, it said.

My point is that the scandal of long-term abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests has become so epidemic that it has veered uncomfortably close to the Pope himself.

Photo credit: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov.

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