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Monday, April 25, 2005

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 Ratzinger obstructed justice in pedophilia cases

Pope Palpatine I is being accused of obstructing justice after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.

The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

"Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret," Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.

Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, criticised the order that abuse allegations should be investigated only in secret tribunals. "They are imposing procedures and secrecy on these cases. If law enforcement agencies find out about the case, they can deal with it. But you can't investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10 the priest will get away with it."

UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!

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