“Removed from service”?

Symbol image abuse in the church © Andreas Gebert

A new suspicion in the sexual abuse scandal: a senior staff member at the highest Vatican court is on a list of a good 200 abusers from the US state of New Jersey.

Joseph Punderson, 70, a senior staff member at the Vatican's highest court, is on a list from his former diocese of Trenton of some 200 "credibly accused" abusers from the U.S. state of New Jersey. This is reported by the Rome correspondent of the French newspaper "La Croix" (online edition Friday). He suspects that this could soon bring to an end Punderson's Vatican career of some 25 years.

Majority of priests on list deceased

On the list released Wednesday by the Trenton diocese, Punderson is listed as "removed from ministry". About possible sanctions or further use is nothing executed. Some of the offenses charged date back decades, the release said Wednesday; most of the priests on the list have since died.

At the end of January, Austrian religious Hermann Geibler (53) had resigned from his post in the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The resignation was related to allegations of sexual harassment, but Geissler denies them.

Supreme Court of the Roman Curia

The Apostolic Signature, officially the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, is the highest court and highest administrative tribunal of the Roman Curia. The prefect of that court is currently Cardinal Dominique Mamberti (66).

An international summit on abuse will be held at the Vatican starting Thursday. Pope Francis has invited the presidents of all bishops' conferences, the leaders of the united Eastern churches and numerous male and female religious superiors to the four-day meeting in Rome. Also participating will be the heads of all Vatican agencies, as well as victims of abuse from around the world.

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