'Pope knew of abuse claims'

GENEVA - Hans Kueng, the dissident Catholic theologian from Switzerland, has accused Pope Benedict of playing a role since 2001 in keeping sex-abuse claims against priests out of the public eye.

GENEVA - Hans Kueng, the dissident Catholic theologian from Switzerland, has accused Pope Benedict of playing a role since 2001 in keeping sex-abuse claims against priests out of the public eye.

Kueng's office yesterday confirmed remarks made in a Swiss television interview on Sunday in which Kueng referred to a letter sent in May 2001 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the world's bishops.

The letter instructs bishops to report every case to the Vatican, but to keep such allegations confidential.

"There was not a single man in the Catholic Church who knew more about the sex-abuse cases than him, because it was part of his official role," Kueng said. Ratzinger became pope in 2005.

"He can't wag a finger at bishops and say you didn't do enough. He gave the instruction as head of the Congregation of Doctrine of Faith," Kueng said. - Sapa

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