By publishing a cartoon aimed at the current problems with sexual abuses in the Catholic Church in their party's magazine, Tvärdrag (meaning a cross draft of air), Sweden's young socialists league (SSU), a loosely controlled branch of Sweden's leading Social Democratic Coalition Party (SDS), has aroused clamor from numerous Christian groups including Swedish Catholic Church spokespersons.

Drawn by Kjell Nilsson-Mäki, the cartoon depicts the Pope as a presumable pedophile. The content shows him reaching out to a baby in a fearful mother's arms and a bubble overhead says: "Suffer the little children come unto me." Within the Pope's robes, his sexual arousement is indicated.

"It's distasteful," said Maria Hasselgren, press officer for the Catholic Church in Sweden.

Hasselgren believed that publishing the offensive drawing goes against the SSU's own political stance. "For the SSU to provoke people who largely belong among their own voters feels a bit strange, "she added.

In defense of their right of freedom of expression, Daniel Suhonen, editor of the young socialist league's publication, explained that the cartoon was not meant as an indictment of the Pope, but rather, a hard hitting statement against the abuses that are presently coming to light within the Catholic Church, which is only figuratively represented by the pontiff. However, he told a reporter for Expressen that he would never had published a similar drawing if it was directed toward Muslims.

Liberal blogger John Ingerö, who is also editor of the liberal magazine Neo, has filed a complaint against the publication with Sweden's antidiscrimation commission (JK).

Sources: www.dagen.se, www.expressen.se