Dissident Swiss theologian Hans Küng has called on Pope Benedict XVI to issue an apology for the paedophilia scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church in Europe.
The retired theology professor condemned the Church’s management of decades-old sex scandals, which he called “disastrous practices”.
“Decency requires that the primary party responsible for the concealment [of the cases], namely Joseph Ratzinger [the pope], makes his own mea culpa,” Küng said in an interview published in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday.
The latest in a series of abuse allegations emerging in Germany come from former students at an elite Roman Catholic school in Berlin, and in the pope’s native state of Bavaria alone, more than 100 former students have come forward with claims of physical or sexual abuse.
Küng described the church’s senior leadership as accomplices to the abuse. “Protecting their priests seems to have counted more for the bishops than protecting children,” he said.
He called for a debate on the celibacy of priests.
Küng, aged 81, is professor emeritus of ecumenical theology at Tübingen University in Germany but since 1979 has been forbidden by the Vatican from teaching theology.
swissinfo.ch and agencies