Criminal trial begins involving two priests at the Vatican

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Pope Francis, flanked by Master of Ceremonies Bishop Guido Marini, waves to faithful during the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ‘ to the city and to the world’ ) Christmas’ day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

VATICAN CITY (AP) – A trial has opened in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal for two priests, one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary and the other of covering it up. The charges read aloud in the courtroom Wednesday marked the first time the Vatican had detailed its case against the two men, one of whom was himself a young seminarian at the time of the alleged abuse, 2007-2012, and the other the seminary rector at the time. The case concerns the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, a palazzo inside the Vatican walls just across the street from where Pope Francis lives. The seminary, which is operated by the diocese of Como, serves as a residence for about a dozen boys, aged 12 to 18, who serve as altar boys at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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