The New York Times reported yesterday on Pope Benedict’s Christmas message to Vatican hierarchy in Rome where he spoke about the clergy sexual abuse crisis:
Pope Benedict XVI said on Monday that the continuing sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church had reached a “degree we could not have imagined” this year, and that the Church must reflect on its failures, help the victims, and prevent abusers from becoming priests.
“We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred,” the pope told the Vatican hierarchy in a pointed Christmas message. “We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen.”
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Investigations in numerous European countries have found vast numbers of abuse cases and cover up by church hierarchy.
According to the article, the Vatican is working on a series of guidelines for bishops on how to handle abuse cases. National conferences of bishops, like here in the U.S., have already done this for clergy in their own countries as well.
The pope also put the scandal in context:
He said that as recently as the 1970s, the devastation of pedophilia was not well understood, and that today’s market in child pornography and sex tourism should also be condemned.