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Tuesday, Jan 23rd

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German Priest Close to Pope Is Suspended in Abuse Case

The priest at the center of a German sex-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI was suspended Monday, more than 30 years after the church first heard allegations that he had molested children.

The priest, Peter Hullermann, was suspended after church officials acknowledged in a statement on Friday that he had continued working with children even after being forbidden in 2008. His supervisor, Prelate Josef Obermaier, resigned, according to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

In 1980, Benedict, then archbishop there, approved Father Hullermann’s move to Munich after he was accused of sexually abusing boys in the Diocese of Essen, though on Friday a deputy took full responsibility for allowing the priest to return to full pastoral duties shortly thereafter. Father Hullermann was convicted of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian town of Grafing in June 1986 by a district court in nearby Ebersberg, church officials said Friday.

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Priest's victims forced into vow of silence

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland resisted calls for his resignation yesterday, despite admitting that he took part in meetings where the victims of a paedophile priest were forced to take a vow of silence.

Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, has confirmed he was present at a closed canonical tribunal in 1975 when two child victims of Father Brendan Smyth were ordered to sign agreements under oath that they would not discuss what happened to them with anybody other than an approved priest.

There were immediate calls for Cardinal Brady’s resignation. Colm O’Gorman, head of Amnesty Ireland and founder of One in Four, a charity helping victims of sexual abuse, said that the Cardinal’s position was now impossible.

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Irish cardinal refuses to quit amid court case over paedophilia 'cover-up'

Ireland's most senior Catholic cleric tonight faced down calls to resign after revealing that he was at a secret tribunal where sex abuse victims were made to take an oath of silence.

Cardinal Sean Brady said that he had attended two meetings in 1975 concerning Father Brendan Smyth, a notorious paedophile, where two of Smyth's victims signed an affidavit promising to discuss their claims only with a specified priest.

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Pope defends celibacy rule amid sex abuse scandals

Europe's Catholic paedophile scandal now affects institutions in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany.

Cardinal Schoenborn later clarified his comments saying it would be wrong to say that celibacy was a prime cause of sexual abuse.

"If celibacy is the problem, then without celibacy there should be no sexual abuse but unfortunately this is not the case. We know about cases inside the family," he said.

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Archbishop links priestly celibacy and Catholic sex abuse scandals

The Archbishop of Vienna today said priestly celibacy could be one of the causes of the sex abuse scandals to hit the Catholic church. In an article for Thema Kirche, his diocesan magazine, Christoph Schonborn became the most senior figure in the Catholic hierarchy to make the connection between the two and called for an "unflinching examination" of the possible reasons for paedophilia.

He wrote: "These include the issue of priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution. "It also includes the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole."

Schonborn is not the first person to suggest a link between celibacy and paedophilia – the theologian Hans Kung has made the same assertion. A spokesman clarified the archbishop's words, insisting he was "in no way" seeking to question the celibacy rule or call for its abolition.

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French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

A 50-year mystery over the 'cursed bread' of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

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Pope's brother linked to new claims of child abuse by clergy

A series of allegations in Germany and Holland have plunged the Catholic Church into a renewed crisis over how it has dealt with child abuse after it emerged that the Pope's brother ran a renowned choir at the centre of some of the latest claims.

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