World News

Vatican must take abuse more seriously: Swiss abbot

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Vatican has to take cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy more seriously, the abbot of a Swiss monastery at the center of an abuse scandal told a Swiss Sunday paper.

“I’m afraid that the Church leadership in Rome is not taking the situation seriously enough,” Martin Werlen said in an interview in SonntagsBlick. “Our credibility is at stake.”

Werlen, Abbot of Einsiedeln Monastery, has said at least three of the monastery’s 77 monks had committed acts of abuse since he took up office in December 2001, but no legal action had been taken in any of the cases at the express wish of the victims.

In a pastoral letter on Saturday, Pope Benedict apologized to victims of child sex abuse by clergy in Ireland and ordered an official inquiry there.

“The Church leadership has to learn to act more quickly in such situations,” Werlen said. “A word from the pope should come when the situation arises, not two months later.”

The Swiss Catholic Church has said it is investigating about 10 allegations of abuse by clergy, making Switzerland the latest country to be hit by scandal sweeping Europe.

Christoph Darbellay, leader of Switzerland’s centrist Christian Democrats (CVP), called for priests found to have committed abuse to be blacklisted, Switzerland’s Sonntag reported.

“Whoever abuses children should never work again with children,” said Darbellay, whose comments were echoed by a prominent member of the Swiss clergy.

The Bishop of Basel’s general representative, Roland-Bernhard Trauffer told Sonntag he would back a blacklist if it meant cases of sexual abuse could be avoided.

Reporting by Jason Rhodes; Editing by Janet Lawrence