London, Mar 27 (ANI): The Vatican has slammed the media over allegations that the Pope helped cover-up sex abuse, saying that the claim was an "ignoble" attempt to strike at the Pontiff.
The Catholic Church has been hit by a series of child abuse allegations across Europe and the US over the past few months, and in a strongly worded defence of Pope Benedict XVI, they insisted there was no cover-up in the case of Father Lawrence Murphy, reports the Daily Express.
Claims of a cover-up had been made against the now deceased Father Murphy, who is alleged to have abused 200 boys at an American school for the deaf between 1950 and 1974.
Reports in the US on March 25 claimed that the Pope, who was then Cardinal Ratzinger, failed to act on warnings about Father Murphy from Milwaukee.
The Vatican denied a "cover-up" and said he only became aware of the case "much later, when the priest was already old and ailing".
On March 26 it accused the media of a smear campaign, with the official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano labelling the reports as an "ignoble attempt to strike at Pope Benedict XVI and his collaborators at any cost".
Several alleged victims have come forward. Arthur Budzinski said he was abused from the age of 12 when he asked Father Murphy to hear his confession.
Steven Geier said Father Murphy molested him as a 14-year-old, using God to justify his actions.
The allegations surfaced years ago, but received new attention this week when court documents showed he was not defrocked in the 1990s as he was protected by the Vatican office led by the now Pope. (ANI)