“We need an impartial investigation, we can not manage this ourselves,” Arborelius told the Svenska Dagbladet daily.
“The government should appoint someone. I will write to them shortly. We need someone with no loyalty to the church to shed light on the issue,” the bishop said.
But church minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth is reluctant to approve a state examination of allegations that the church hushed up the reports before a formal request is received and is in general sceptical of state involvement.
“If this is not that extensive then I think the church should be able to manage it itself,” she told the newspaper.
The Swedish cases that have so far come to light have all passed the statute of limitations. Should more recent allegations emerge then they would be a matter for the police.
“The pope now wants more consistent rules. All cases must be forwarded to Rome as part of the ecclesiastical legal process,” said Arborelius, who has recently returned from an audience with the pope on other matters.
Anders Arborelius has written to a Swedish woman who came forward and told of abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, the Christian website Dagen reports.
“I regret the horrible things you have been subjected to and ask for your forgiveness in the Church’s name,” he writes and promised to investigate the abuse.
The woman has however been left unimpressed by the communication.
“It is so pitiful, I have no words to describe it. He writes that he regrets what has happened and asked for forgiveness in the name of the church, but doesn’t mention a word of my brother’s death or that they will conduct an investigation into it,” she told Dagen.
According to the woman, who has since emigrated from Sweden, her brother died as a result of negligence at the monastery where she and her siblings lived as children.