London, Mar. 14 (ANI): Pope Benedict XVI's spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has blasted reports saying the Bishop of Rome allowed a paedophile priest to continue with the ministry during his stint as archbishop of Munich.
In an interview on Vatican Radio, Lombardi suggested that the pope was the victim of a "tenacious plot" to implicate him in Munich sex abuse cases.
"It's rather clear that in recent days there have been people who have searched - with notable tenacity - in Regensburg and Munich for elements to personally involve the holy father in the question of the abuses," the Observer quoted Lombardi, as saying.
"To any objective observer it's clear that these attempts have failed," he added.
Earlier, it emerged that a priest, who was convicted of child abuse, was sent from Essen to Munich for therapy in 1980 on the approval of the Pope, who was then a cardinal.
But instead of sending him for therapy, the diocese's then vicar-general, Gerhard Gruber, assigned him to a parish where at least one child was subsequently abused.
The church's attempt to bury the affair was immediately challenged by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which tomorrow is holding "sidewalk vigils" in more than 30 US cities in support of European victims.
David Clohessy, the network's national director, said: "As a high-ranking church official for decades, if Ratzinger knew of one reassigned paedophile priest, the odds are he knows of others, possibly dozens."
"German secular authorities should do in Munich what Irish secular authorities did in Dublin: launch a thorough secular probe of clergy sex crimes and cover-ups." (ANI)