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Further calls to blacklist paedophile priests

President Doris Leuthard has called for a central register of paedophile priests, to prevent them from having further contact with children.

Her statement came as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic Church worldwide, with Swiss police too investigating allegations that children were harmed by priests.

“Whether perpetrators come from the civil or clerical world makes no difference. Both are subject to Swiss criminal law, with no ifs or buts,” Leuthard told the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche newspapers.

She said it was important to ensure that paedophiles had no further contact with children and the possibility of a register for paedophile priests should be considered, on the lines of one for teachers.

Swiss bishops have made reservations about such a list, but have not ruled it out. Reports say they are considering holding an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.

The Swiss Catholic church is apparently set to counter the negative publicity from the sex abuse scandal with an advertising campaign in each of the country’s 2,000 parishes.

A survey found an overwhelming majority of respondents coming out in favour of blacklisting paedophile priests.

Nine out of ten people taking part in the survey also want the church to report cases of sexual abuse by priests to the justice authorities.

About 41 per cent of Swiss residents are Catholics.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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