Illinois Abuse Victim Sues Pope, Vatican

An Illinois man who was allegedly molested by an American priest several decades ago is now suing Pope Benedict XVI.

The alleged victim, whose identity was not revealed, said that he was abused by the late Father Lawrence Murphy, who has been accused of molesting 200 children during his 20 year tenure at a deaf children's school in Milwaukee.

Murphy, who was never defrocked, died in 1998 before a Church trial opened two years earlier could conclude.

Jeff Anderson, the lawyer for the defendant, said that the case is the fifth that he's taken with survivors from Murphy's abuse and is the first aimed directly at Vatican officials.

Along with Pope Benedict, the lawsuit names two cardinals as offenders, as well as the Holy See, which is identified as the state of the Vatican City.

Notably, rather than monetary reparations, the lawsuit instead asks for the Vatican to disclose its records of abusive priests as compensation.

Some legal experts, however, are doubting the trial's prospects.

Canon lawyer Nicholas Cafardi says that the case misrepresents the Vatican as an international business, which it's not.

"He's alleging an employment relationship between individual priests and the Holy See," Cafardi told the Associated Press. "I'm sorry, but diocesan priests in the United States are not employees of the Holy See ... If a court were to accept that, they would be creating a new Catholic Church, not the one that exists now."

Meanwhile, a priest named in last year's investigation of the Irish Catholic Church has been officially dismissed from his position.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty, who stepped down from his position last December saying that "the attempts by church authorities to 'protect the church' and to 'avoid scandal' had the most dreadful consequences for children and were deeply wrong."

In a statement released by Moriarty on Thursday the former bishop said that he hopes his resignation would honor "the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered" and that it would open the way "to a better future for all concerned."

"The truth is that the long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by church authorities has revealed a culture within the church that many would simply describe as un-Christian," he said. "People do not recognize the gentle, endless love of the Lord in narrow interpretations of responsibility and a basic lack of compassion and humility. This has been profoundly dispiriting for all who care about the church."

Meanwhile, Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione recently called on Catholics to defend Benedict and the Vatican from the attack of the media, which he accused of "trying to scare families into thinking that it is dangerous for their children to be Catholic," according to Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Buttiglione also noted a study that he says reveals that pedophilia among priests is "much lower than it is in any other professional sector."

Buttiglione cited data from a study by the University of New York that showed in a span of 50 years, there has been "one guilty verdict for pedophilia per year out of 109,000 Catholic priests in the United States."

"That is, one guilty verdict for every 2,000 priests," he said.

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