Pope sees sex scandal as greatest threat to Catholic Church

LISBON, Portugal – Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday blamed the church's own sins for the clerical abuse scandal — not a campaign mounted by outsiders — and called for profound purification to end what he called the "greatest persecution" the church has endured.

His strong comments placed the blame for the crisis squarely on the sins of pedophile priests, repudiating the Vatican's initial response to the scandal, in which it blamed the media as well as pro-choice and pro-gay marriage advocates for mounting a campaign against the church and the pope.

Speaking en route to Portugal, Benedict said the Catholic church had always suffered from problems of its own making but that "today we see it in a truly terrifying way."

"The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church," the pontiff said. "The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice."

Benedict was responding to journalists' questions, submitted in advance, aboard the papal plane as he flew to Portugal. His four-day visit will take him from Lisbon to the famed Fatima shrine to Portugal's second city, Porto.

It is not known whether Benedict would make further remarks about the scandal during the trip, but there have been no reported cases of sex abuse in Portugal, unlike in Malta, where Benedict met with abuse victims on a trip there last month.

Despite the Vatican's initial, defensive response to hundreds of clerical abuse reports in Europe, Benedict has called for penance and promised that the church would take action to protect children and make abusive priests face justice.

[FULL STORY]

Tags: abuse, benedict, catholic, church, molestation, pope, rape, ratzinger, vatican

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Replies to This Discussion

Sounds like someone told him what the child rapists actually did... might have drawn him a picture.
A truly scary thought would be that he genuinely did not KNOW....
In five words:

WHAT TOOK HIM SO LONG?!?

Are those in the highest echelons of the church so badly isolated that they can't understand the impact of a scandal of this magnitude on their own parishioners, never mind the general population? Maybe not - they've never had kids, never been truly responsible for them as parents, or perhaps their closeness to their fellows causes the church to defend them first instead of those who accuse them. At least there is finally some indication that they have awoken to their own perfidy and are prepared to correct it.

Yet with all of that, they still use the loaded word: persecution. Let's look at that word, courtesy of dictionary.com:

per·se·cu·tion n. The act or practice of persecuting [to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment] on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs that differ from those of the persecutor.

Sorry, but not applicable, not from where I sit. This is not about the church's beliefs, sexual orientation or any of the above-mentioned qualifiers. What the church is subject to is a valid accusation, based on the repeated behavior and actions of its representatives. If the church feels harassed at this, it is because they have habitually attempted to side-step the issue, apparently up until this latest report. Whether this represents a genuine sea-change in their attitude and approach to the issue, I do not know and will not assume.

I do know that I am not liable to be fully satisfied about this matter until the church recognizes that an internal investigation executed by themselves would amount to a fox-in-chicken-coop situation and they open themselves up to a full civil inquiry. No, that's not likely, but it's the only action which would hold any degree of credibility for me.
My kids always took responsibility for their inappropriate behaviors too... after they got busted. I

would like for the pope to take responsibility for HIS role in the abuse of children and do the right thing... step, the fuck, down.
Hmmm... He does keep the negative press flowing.
Penitence and purification. Do you think this might be the harbinger of a return to the good old days when they scoured themselves with flails, wore hair shirts and wore sackcloth and ashes?
I don't see where he has done anything that he didn't have to for the sake of appearance. Given the change in tune will he admit that he is not infallible?
And it only took them 1,700 years to come around.

I predict another 1,700 years before those words become action.

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