VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI on Friday asked for forgiveness from God and from victims of sex abuse, pledging to do "everything possible" to prevent future abuse.
Speaking at a Mass marking the close of an international conference of priests, the pope said the Catholic Church had to do a better job of vetting candidates for the priesthood. He also dropped his practice of referring to abuse indirectly when speaking publicly about the crisis.
"The sins of priests came to light—particularly the abuse of the little ones," the pope said. "We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again."
The remarks stopped short, however, of the personal apology that victims' groups had expected the pope to issue in response to criticism of his handling of sex-abuse cases in Germany and as head of the Vatican's disciplinary office. Nor did Pope Benedict address what many victims say allowed the scandal to fester: The church hierarchy's decades-long practice of covering up abuse.
"The Pope still ignores the crux of the crisis—the ongoing recklessness, deceit and callousness of bishops who, even now, protect predators instead of children," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
After the crisis exploded this year, the Vatican initially described it as a campaign whipped up by the media. Over time, the Vatican has recognized that the church is to blame for not stopping the abuse sooner.
So ... "Over time, the Vatican has recognized that the church is to blame for not stopping the abuse sooner." I wonder what the reporter meant by this, and who precisely is being quoted here.
You know, in confession, you must confess everything, or it's not absolved. What, exactly, does Benedict think he is "apologizing" for? It's all so vague. It's back to "we're sorry for the sins of the sins of the children of the Church."
There's either an incredible double standard going on, or they're just not understanding this horrific crime that's being perpetrated by "bishops who, even now, protect predators instead of children."
"The pedophilia scandal has shocked us deeply, it's not easy," said Baptiste Loevenbruck, a 26-year-old candidate for the priesthood who traveled to the Vatican from France to attend the closing ceremonies with the pope. "What is most difficult is to know that priests themselves have persecuted the Church," he said.
Oh, the poor Church, the poor, poor Church.