VATICAN CITY — In response to the "unimaginable" scandal of clerical sex abuse against minors, the Church must reflect, repent, and do everything possible to rectify the injustices suffered by victims as it works to prevent such abuse from ever happening again, said Pope Benedict XVI.
The pope said he and others were "dismayed" when, during a year dedicated to the world's priests, further cases of clerical sex abuse came to light "to a degree we could not have imagined."
"We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves," the pope said Dec. 20 in his annual pre-Christmas address to the Roman Curia and cardinals who reside in Rome. The Roman Curia are the employees of the Vatican who assist the Holy Father in the administration and mission of the Church.
In his seven-page reflection on the past year, the pope dedicated a large part of his speech to the impact of sex abuse by priests.
He said priests who committed such scandals "twist" the sacrament of ordination into its "antithesis" when they, "under the mantle of the sacred, profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime."
The face of the Church is soiled and her clothes torn "because of the sins of priests," the pope said, referring to the writings of the 12th-century German mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen, who had visions of a Church wounded and sullied because of abuses by clergy evident in her day.
Continue reading the Pope's Statement on the St. Louis Review website »