Pope meets German bishops after abuse resignation

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Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday granted an audience to three senior German bishops following the resignation of one of their peers who admitted to beating children in his care.

Benedict received the head of the German conference of bishops, Robert Zollitsch, as well as Munich Archbishop Reinhard Marx and Anton Losinger, the auxiliary bishop of Augsburg in southern Germany, a Vatican statement said.

One of Germany's most senior bishops, Walter Mixa of Augsburg, tendered his resignation to the pope last week after admitting that he hit children at a Church-run orphanage in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pope Benedict has yet to respond to his resignation.

In common with other European countries, Germany has been rocked by revelations that children were physically or sexually abused in institutions, the vast majority run by the Roman Catholic Church.

The scandal has badly damaged the standing of the Church in Germany, and also of the pope, whose appointment five years ago as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics was a source of great national pride.

© 2010 AFP

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