Catholic Church

Bishop Arborelius Prepared to Resign

The bishop of the Swedish Catholic Church tells Swedish Radio News that he is prepared to resign if it turns out that it is his fault that sexual abuse against minors, allegedly carried out by priests in the Church, have not been investigated.

Bishop Anders Arborelius was told already in 2003 about sexual abuse that is supposed to have taken place against two young sisters for several years in the end of the 50-ies and beginning of the 60-ies. Also Arborelius' predecessor was told, already in 1990.

Over the last few weeks a handful of people have approached the Swedish Catholic Church to say that they were sexually abused by priests in the Church some decades back. Bishop Arborelius has publicly apologised on behalf of the Church, and in an interview with Swedish Radio News on the 13th of April he said that he had been naive when thinking that there were no more cases, than the one that came to light a few years ago, of abuse that took place in the 1950-ies.

But on Sunday, the daily Dagens Nyheter published the news that the Catholic church knew already in 1990 about two sisters that had been sexually abused by a priest for several years in end of the 50-ies and beginning of the 60-ies.

The newspaper has spoken to one of the sisters, now in her 60-ies, who initially contacted the then Catholic Bishop, Hubertus Brandenburg, in 1990, and then the current Bishop, Anders Arborelius in 2003. But nothing happened.

The priest, now retired, was allowed to continue his work in the Catholic church, but has been moved between parishes several times since the end of the 1960-ies. He stopped working for the Catholic Church in the mid 1990-ies. When the woman contacted the Catholic Church again a few years ago, she was advised to talk to a therapist.

Speaking to Dagens Nyheter, the woman says that she thinks Bishop Anders Arborelius has shown understanding and sympathy, but it was not until she contacted the Church again last week that the Catholic church decided to make it public. "I didn't get an answer as to why they only started talking about this now. It feels like they want to find a scape goat, but I want redress for me and all the others that have been abused," she tells Dagens Nyheter

Asked by Swedish Radio News how he could have said that he had been naive to think there were more cases, when in fact he already knew about the case of the two sisters in 2003, Bishop Arborelius replied: "I was during a conversation told that it could have happened, but I did not bring it further. In addition, I was responsible for the pastoral care of the victim's mother. It has made it difficult for me to know how I should progress with it."

Arborelius now want the whole case examined. "If it is found that it is because of me that this case was not examined before, I am prepared to take the consequences and ask the Pope to resign from my service as a bishop," he told Swedish Radio News.