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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 38. Pope Benedict XVI

Papa Ratzi.

The Pope is spiritual leader to an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics across the world and is a staunch proponent of a return to fundamental Christian values. However, he has been under huge pressure since the exposure of mass sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy, beginning in the mid-1980s. This month, a submission was lodged with the International Criminal Court, alleging that the Pope, along with three of his cardinals, had committed a "crime against humanity" by failing both to prevent abuse and to punish perpetrators of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. These crimes will undoubtedly tarnish the Church's image for years to come.

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This article first appeared in the 26 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The fifty people who matter