Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal

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ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and will work to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood, addressing the toughest issue facing the American church as he began his first papal trip to the United States....

"It is a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen," Benedict said. "It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children."....

"We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry," Benedict said. "It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound."

Benedict's pilgrimage was the first trip by a pontiff to the United States since the scandal involving priests sexually abusing young people rocked U.S. dioceses. The church has paid out more than $2 billion in abuse costs since 1950, the majority of it since 2002. Six U.S. dioceses have declared bankruptcy in recent years because of the financial toll of the scandal....

White House press secretary Dana Perino, asked about the pope's comments regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal, said she wouldn't rule out that the topic would come up in conversation between the pope and the president....

Abuse victims' advocates said Benedict's comments on the scandal did not go far enough.

Peter Isely, a board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the establish child protection policies for the worldwide church, and there should be penalties for church leaders who fail to discipline predatory priests. [And they expect to receive the keys to St Peter's Basilica on Saturday.]

Read the full article here.
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