Passing the Buck

The Pope's Defense in Child Sex Scandal

The buck may stop with the previous pope, if Pope Benedict XVI's defense is accurate. As fresh child sex abuse scandals rock the Vatican, The Washington Post reports that the current pope is going on the offensive with a media blitz in anticipation of Easter Sunday. This week, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna countered charges that Benedict did a poor job of investigating abuse allegations back when he was a mere cardinal heading up the Vatican disciplinary office, charging that in 1995 the now-pope called for a special investigation into the former archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, for allegedly molesting young monks. According to Schoenborn, aides to Pope John Paul II blocked that investigation. The current pope has a lot more to contend with, though. The Irish government recently released two reports documenting thousands of cases of sex abuse by clergy, and last week the pope was accused of failing to defrock a priest who molested 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin in the 1990s.