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Kathy Redig

Guest columnist Kathy Redig

Roman Catholic Womenpriests stand in solidarity with victims of clergy sex abuse throughout Europe and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy.

The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the pope and the Vatican.

In the U.S., the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the church more than

$2 billion.

The Vatican's record on child abuse was criticized March 16 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pope Benedict, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, has been linked to the case of a German priest convicted of molesting children but allowed to continue to minister in Ratzinger's archdiocese for more than 30 years until his recent suspension.

Later, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. The cases were handled under a strict code of pontifical secrecy.

The Vatican has handled more than 3,000 cases, according to its own report. Since Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is implicated in the handling of the cases, civil authorities should investigate the alleged cover-up to assure that transparency and justice is achieved.

Roman Catholic Womepriests call on the all-male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those in the Vatican, to admit their failures, including the abuse of power at the center of this crisis.

Standards of accountability must be the norm for all, including the pope and hierarchy.

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We call for an independent truth commission made up of a broad representation of people of integrity, including victims of abuse and the non-ordained, to examine this global sexual abuse crisis and to chart a path forward to structural change - a change that would include women priests and married priests with an end to mandatory celibacy.

Now more than ever our church needs the wisdom and experience of women to re-birth a renewed community of equals empowered by the spirit.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer a collaborative model of an inclusive church rooted in partnership with the people we serve, with no one excluded.

Redig is an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She is also the administrator for the Midwest Region of the RCWP.

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