Pope Benedict XVI

Clergy sex abuse victims list 'dirty dozen' of likely papal candidates

Cardinals accused of shielding paedophile priests and making offensive statements

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 3:14am

Clergy sex abuse victims have listed a "dirty dozen" potential papal candidates and urged the Roman Catholic Church to "get serious" about protecting children, helping victims and exposing corruption.

"We want to urge Catholic prelates to stop pretending that the worst is over regarding the clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis," said David Clohessy, director of the United States-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

We want to urge Catholic prelates to stop pretending that the worst is over regarding the clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis

"Tragically, the worst is almost certainly ahead," he said, adding that the truth of "widespread, longstanding and deeply-rooted" abuse and cover-ups has "yet to surface in most nations".

The group on Wednesday cited a dozen cardinals from the US, Mexico, Honduras, Italy, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Argentina and Ghana accused of protecting paedophile priests and making offensive public statements.

They are all considered to be contenders to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who was criticised for his handling of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church in the US and Europe.

The Vatican yesterday said cardinals had not yet decided on a start date for a conclave to elect a new pope.

"There has been no decision on a date for the conclave," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said after the latest in a series of meetings of cardinals from around the world that began on Monday.

SNAP also opposes electing any member of the Roman Curia, the administrative branch of the Holy See. "We feel no current Vatican 'insider' has the will to truly 'clean house' in the Vatican and elsewhere,'" Clohessy said.

"Promoting a Curia member would discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and advocates from reporting wrongdoing."

Public denunciations of the media for attacking the church and assertions that claims of widespread abuse were overstated were often cited among reasons to blacklist a papal candidate. Efforts to maintain secrecy instead of reporting abuse to the police also led to condemnation.

In the United States, three bishops made the list for failing to protect parishioners from known abusers and undermining reform efforts. They are cardinals Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl and Sean O'Malley.

Additional reporting by Associated Press