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Former Pope Benedict says he never tried to cover up child abuse

A long-distance dialogue between the former pope and a mathematician has provoked reaction around the world.

Image: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

JOSEPH RATZINGER, BETTER known as Pope Benedict XVI, has said he never tried to cover up child sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

In a letter to Italian author and mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi about his latest book, entitled Dear Pope, I Am Writing You, the emeritus pope (his new title) said of the “moral abuse of minors by priest” that he never tied to “hide these things”.

“That the power of evil penetrated to such an extent in the inner world of faith is for us a suffering which, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other, we must at the same time, do everything possible to ensure that such cases do not repeated,” he continued in the 11-page missive, excerpts of which were published in today’s La Repubblica in Rome.

He also noted that sociological research has shown that the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than that found in other similar professions but added that this was “in no way reassuring”.

It is the first time since becoming the pontiff that Ratzinger has voiced a statement on the issue of child abuse.

Victims groups have called for a full apology from the Vatican about the child sexual abuse scandals that have been uncovered in various countries around the world in recent decades.

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