While other officials from the Catholic Church (ahem, Bill Donohue) have hesitated, to say the least, to look within the church for the source of the clergy sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI has apparently seen the light. During a visit to Portugal on Tuesday, the pope put a point on it by declaring that “the greatest persecution of the church does not come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church.” It’s about time, there, Benedict. —KA
The Vatican has been strongly criticised for trying to apportion blame elsewhere and there was outrage when a close ally of the pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, last month dismissed the child abuse allegations as “petty gossip”.
In some of his strongest comments yet on the crisis which has dismayed Catholics around the world, the 83-year-old pontiff said that while the Church had suffered from problems of its own making in the past, the scale of the present challenge today was “truly terrifying”.
“The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also the necessity of justice,” he said.