Today's revelation that a Minnesota priest charged in a 2007 sex abuse case involving a teenage girl still practices in India continues to put a spotlight on the Vatican and Pope Benedict.
Pier Paolo Cito/AP
This year's "holy week," the most important event in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, had some of the church's greatest minds concerned with matters other than religious celebration.
Though the masses and processions leading up to Easter Sunday went forward as they have for centuries, they did so amid the emergence of sex abuse cases both old and new. Critics have charged that Pope Benedict XVI, at best, failed to deal with abusive priests. At worst, they say, he presided over a church that systematically shielded abusers from the law.
The newest case erupted today, when an attorney representing a girl who says she was abused by a priest in Minnesota charged that the Vatican declined to investigate the priest, Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, after repeated warnings from other church officials in 2005 and 2006. US authorities in 2007 formally charged Rev. Palanivel Jeyapaul with sexually assaulting a teenage girl, but he has continued to work at a Catholic school in southern India.
It's highly unlikely that Pope Benedict will resign his office in response to the abuse scandals – it's been almost 600 years since the last pope stepped down. But his character and personal beliefs will be crucial as he seeks to guide a church that claims 1 billion adherents through what the National Catholic Reporter in the United States calls the church's "largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history."
Page 1 of 5