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Join in the debate on What the Pope Knew

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Eamonn Walsh | 17:10 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

On the eve of the four-day tour of the UK by Pope Benedict XVI - the first Papal visit since Pope John Paul II touched down on British soil, famously kissing the tarmac at Gatwick Airport in 1982 - Panorama's film What the Pope Knew looks at the difficult issue of the child sex abuse scandal which has engulfed the Catholic Church worldwide.

Fergal Keane investigates Pope Benedict's personal track record of dealing with paedophile priests while an archbishop and top Vatican official and asks just what he knew about the problem.

As usual, we welcome your input so please use this forum if you would like to join in the debate.


  • Comment number 1.

    We welcome your input via our team blog. Please join the debate and tell us your thoughts on What the Pope Knew?

  • Comment number 2.

    If the Pope knew some of the things going on within the church, I can understand why he wouldn't want to expose and broadcast such crimes in public as nobody would want to associate evil with their houses of worship - however, while I can understand that reasoning, the question has to be asked if the Pope did enough to mete out justice to those responsible for such heinous crimes.

    I also feel that the unnatural celibacy that is required of clergy is a contributing factor to the whole scandal.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a person who was abused in Catholic Ireland I wasn't at all surprised at what was on the programme. It left me raging mad.
    This week is going to bring a lot of bad memories to the surface for lots of us who were abused. Time the Catholic Church got its act together and allow the use of contraception, let prists get married etc.
    I strongly disagree with taxpayers having to fund the Popes visit to the UK. Time this mess was sorted, no more cover-ups.

  • Comment number 5.

    This was one of the weakest, laziest and uninforming pieces of journalism I've ever seen. Anyone accusing the BBC of anti-christian bias should watch the C4 documentary by Peter Tatchell, "The Trouble With The Pope" to see just how diluted, wishy washy and apologetic the Panorama programme was. This further confirms my opinion that Panorama has totally lost any pretension to hard-hitting journalism (first suspected with the appointment of the piffling presenter, Jeremy Vine to appeal to the Radio 2 listening, middle england demographic).

    There was no evidence presented of Ratzinger's direct complicity, such as the letter sent by him in 2001 to all bishops insisting on papal secrecy in abuse cases, none of the hard-hitting evidence as contained in Geoffrey Robertson's excellent "The Case of the Pope" and no evidence of the Vatican's subsequent lies and obfuscation to protect the church and their pope's reputation. There has been a systematic revisionism of Ratzinger's biography since he became pope to gloss over the less palatable parts of his life, such as his membership of the Hitler Youth, his comments that homosexuals "have a greater propensity for evil", his outright false statement that condoms exacerbate the AIDS problem, effectively condemning tens of thousands to die. The Vatican spin doctors are having to work overtime to protect the supposed infallibility of a man making frequent and very fallible gaffs. The pope is neck deep in the abuse scandal and should be made publicly accountable for effectively permitting a multi-national paedophile ring to flourish.

  • Comment number 6.

    And the allegations still keep coming.

    Anyone who is horried about the sexual and physical abuse of children by paedophile priests and the Catholic church's involvement in not bringing these criminals to justice should march with us this Saturday.

    A protest march will assemble at 1pm on Saturday the 18th of September at Hyde Park Corner – Piccadilly Downslip. It will then proceed through central London and arrive in the vicinity of Parliament Square.

    Please make every effort to be there and spread the news of this event as far as you possibly can.

  • Comment number 7.

    Ha ha. If important BBC top brass weren't ring kissing papists this Panorama might have stood a chance of packing some kind of punch. What a joke. The u-turn ending seemed like some kind of 'executive' decision to me. Isn't investigative journalism supposed uncover a story in the interests of justice not produce a bland essay in the interests of God knows only what?!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I was disappointed with the Panorama story, which essentially re-hashed material (for example, in relation to Germany) that had already been extensively covered by global media several months ago and was responded to in detail by the Vatican's Press Office at the time.
    We are on the eve of an historic State visit by the Pope to Britain, the first since the Reformation. As Catholic have the same right to religious liberty as other citizens, I hope that the BBC will move on from its Church-bashing and give the Pope, who represents millions of Catholics, fair and extensive coverage.

  • Comment number 9.

    If the head of any organisation (other than the Catholic church) which was heavily implicated in the sexual abuse of children over many years were to visit the UK, that person would surely be arrested and charged with a number of serious criminal offences, wouldn't they?

    Why is the pope treated differently? It amazes and saddens me that, given what we now know about the behaviour of the catholic church and its priests, anybody takes any notice at all of what the organisation has to say. It seems to me that the church has lost all credibility and should simply be ignored by anyone who cares about truth or justice.


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