On AMANPOUR. today, we look at the Catholic Church global sexual abuse scandal. Has it now reached into the top levels of the Vatican? There are new questions about what role, if any, Pope Benedict XVI played in handing pedophile priests to new parishes rather than to the law when he was an archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
We look at the culture of impunity at the root of this crisis. Could this be due to a lack of women in positions of real power? Would the extent of the abuse have been averted if women provided a moral compass? Some cite the clergy’s celibacy vows as the culprit. Will all this force a debate about fundamental reform? This scandal is just one of the stories in the news today. Here are some perspectives.
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL – How far did the cover-up go in the Catholic Church?
– Pope today says he hopes upcoming pastoral letter on the scandal will “help repentance, healing, and renewal”
– Sources say Pope’s letter is likely to be released on Friday or Saturday
– Abuse scandal extends across the globe, from Germany to Ireland… Brazil to Australia… from the U.S. to Switzerland. It’s worst crisis in Catholic Church in centuries
QUESTION: Was there an international conspiracy by the Catholic Church to hide the true extent of the scandal over priests who abused children?
IRAQ – Is it possible that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will be defeated in the parliamentary elections?
– Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi edges ahead for first time in number of votes won after 80 percent of ballots counted from March 7 election
– Allawi is a secular Shiite and former interim Prime Minister who has won considerable support from Iraq’s Sunni community
– An ally of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki alleges widespread fraud in election and is demanding a recount
QUESTION: Has Iraq’s election reinforced the ethnic divisions in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis?
U.S./ISRAEL RELATIONS – Are the U.S. and Israel stepping back from the brink in their showdown over new Israeli homes in Jerusalem?
– Israeli ambassador to U.S. denies making statement attributed to him saying relations between his country and America are “in crisis”
– U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton changing tone, emphasizing that the two allies enjoy what she called a “close, unshakable bond”
– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will visit the U.S. next week, welcomes Clinton remarks and U.S. commitment to Israel’s security
QUESTION: Where does all this diplomatic maneuvering between the U.S. and Israel leave the Palestinians, and the future of the planned indirect peace talks?