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Bishop 'ready to resign' over sex abuse silence

Bishop 'ready to resign' over sex abuse silence

Published: 26 Apr 2010 07:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Apr 2010 07:54 GMT+02:00

Bishop Anders Arborelius has said that he is "prepared to take the consequences" over the failure to investigate the alleged abuse of two sisters by a paedophile priest, first brought to the Catholic Church's attention in 1990.

On Sunday the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily published an interview with one of the alleged victims, who claims the Church kept quiet on her case for the past two decades despite repeated attempts to obtain justice.

"As a bishop I take full responsibility for that and am prepared to face the consequences," Anders Arborelius, the bishop of Stockholm, Sweden's only Catholic diocese, said in a statement.

He called for "a thorough investigation of this tragic case."

The woman, now in her 60s, told DN she contacted the previous Stockholm bishop, Hubertus Brandenburg, in 1990 to report claims of abuse she and her sister suffered in the late 1950s and 1960s.

"The answer I got was in essence 'We'll do our own investigation within the Church, and it's not something we will talk about'," the woman, who was not identified, told DN.

DN reported that the woman later contacted a Catholic newspaper, which did not take her allegations seriously.

Brandenburg died in 2009, according to the Stockholm diocese.

In 2003, the woman says she met with his successor Anders Arborelius to confront him about the abuse, allegedly committed by a priest who she claims had a sexual relationship with her mother.

When no action was taken, she emailed the Church detailing the allegations, to which she got a reply referring her to a therapist.

She then contacted a high-ranking official in Sweden's Catholic Church to no avail, DN said.

It was only this month, after the Swedish Catholic Church admitted that it had received reports of two other cases of clerical abuse, that the woman's allegations were finally heard out.

She was granted a meeting last week with Bishop Arborelius, who has ordered an investigation.

The woman told DN the bishop was understanding and meant well.

"But I didn't get an answer as to why they only started talking about this now," she said.

The Stockholm Diocese said in Sunday's statement it would not comment further on the case, since the Church was now investigating the matter.

But Arborelius, who was on his way to Rome, later told Sveriges Radio (SR) the case had been "incorrectly handled from our side."

"If it is due to me that it was not investigated, I am ready to face the consequences and ask the pope to relieve me from my work as a bishop," he told the public broadcaster.

The diocese said the priest accused in the allegations was still alive but no longer lived in Sweden, and that he had not been employed in the Swedish Catholic Church since the mid-1990s.

The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from a string of damning revelations concerning child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland, Austria, Belgium, the United States and Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:27 April 26, 2010 by Celc
What I don't understand is why people (especially the victims) seem to think sexual abuse is a church matter when it's quite obviously a criminal matter.

If someone was sexually abused in school by a teacher, they wouldn't turn to the principal to handle the matter, they'd turn to the police. If a priest committed murder I highly doubt people would turn to the bishop and ask for an investigation. Yet for some reason sexual abuse within the church has some kind of awkward privilege in peoples minds.
12:18 April 26, 2010 by Nemesis
This is a serious crimnal matter.

There needs to be a formal explanation from the government why everyone involved has not been arrested, tried and jailed.

The catholic church is covering up sexual abuse in every country it is in.

When are governments going to stop pandering to the catholic church and start arresting all the paedophiles?
14:31 April 26, 2010 by Audrian
The history of the Catholic Church is dripping with blood. All the violent kings in history perpetrated violence with tacit support of the Church. There was time when the positions of the Pope were bought and sold or given as a political favor. Such Popes crucified their enemies and kept women for their pleasure from whom they had children.

It was believed that the hidden hand of the US had played a major role in the appointment of the previous Pope. (He carried secret message to and from between the Solidarity Movement in Poland and the CIA). Maria Teresa, who was known for her humanitarian work in Calcutta and awarded the Nobel Prize for peace because of it, was frequent guest of vicious Latin America dictators during the period when it was known that they were openly abusing human rights.

The crimes that Church priests are accused of are insignificant compared to those in the past. It possible that Church had looked at the other way because it was felt they were minor crimes.
16:40 April 26, 2010 by Wetallica
@Celc: Because he is a priest, a religion man, he's not even allowed to have legal sex supposedly, + because it happened several times
18:06 April 26, 2010 by spongepaddy
And the buggers should be forced to pay proper tax and follow human rights conventions too, while we're at it. No other organisations get away with so much as religious ones. Bring the b*stards to task or close them down.
08:15 April 27, 2010 by Liquidmonkey
since when did anything based on a 'story' become more powerful than the LAW and governments?

everyone one of these perverts needs to be locked away with all the other pedophiles, rapists and murderers.............period!
09:16 April 27, 2010 by blondelover
oh.. he looks like a real culprit.. after doing all those stuff as a priest.. look at him giving a pose dressed up as holy man..!!
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