South African bishop resigns
Bishop Reginald Cawcutt has resigned as Cape Town's auxiliary bishop after reports that he had been implicated in a gay website scandal.
According to a brief report from the Vatican, Pope John Paul II accepted Cawcutt's resignation but gave no details of the case.
According to an Associated Press report the site was started by a priest in the US as a discussion group for gay priests. It carried sexually explicit material.
The report said the diocese of Portland, Maine, disciplined the priest two years ago, removing him from his parish.
In an article in the Cape Argus in June, Cawcutt said he was a target of conservative Catholic groups in the United States.
He said he was involved with the site as a result of his ministry to gays and Aids victims and that he consistently promoted celibacy in the group.
Meanwhile the Church in Germany said yesterday it has suspended two priests accused of abusing children, the latest in a growing list of sexual abuse scandals which have rocked the church worldwide.
"I can confirm two priests have been suspended until we have the finding of a police investigation into a case which is still pending," said Thomas Schaefer, a spokesman for the Church's powerful Paderborn archdiocese.
In a sign the scandal may be spreading in Germany, there were reports of two further investigations into suspected pedophile priests in the southern regional state of Bavaria. The reports could not immediately be confirmed.
Prosecutors in the western city of Dortmund said they were investigating a 38-year-old priest on charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy in 1998.
The priest was accused by several children of sexual abuse in 2001 but a local court dismissed the charges then because of lack of evidence, a spokesman for the Dortmund prosecutor's office told Reuters.
The second priest under investigation was reportedly in a neighbouring town in the Ruhr valley outside the jurisdiction of the Dortmund prosecutors, but no further details are available.
Archdiocese of Cape Town: Bishop Reginald Cawcutt
Roman Catholic Faithful calls for the resignation of Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of Cape Town, South Africa (21/4/00)
Archdiocese of Paderborn (CCIE)
South African Press Association/Reuters
19 Jul 2002