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Pedo Priest Scandal Rocks Archdioces Run By Pope’s Right Hand Man On Reforming Abusive Priests

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LA STAMPA: The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests. Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. “I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues,” he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse. According to investigators, Seppia told a friend — a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation — that the town’s malls were the best places to entice minors. In tapped phone conversations the two cursed and swore against God. The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18. Seppia’s defense lawyers are expected to argue that those conversations — monitored since Oct. 20, 2010 — were just words, sex games that were played by adults. It was just a game even when he claimed to have “kissed on the mouth” a 15-year-old altar boy, according to the defense. MORE

RELATED: The blame-shifting excuses that the American Roman Catholic Church keeps coming up with in its decade-long effort to explain away the pedophile priest scandal have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. My favorite is that this was not an epidemic of pedophilia but homosexuality. On the part of the victims. But now a new excuse is being offered and it’s a whopper: A five-year study commissioned by the church’s bishops concludes that homosexuality actually is not to blame. It is because priests were poorly prepared for the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. In other words, hippies made them do it. MORE

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