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Pope on sex abuse cases: "We weren't vigilant, quick and decisive enough in taking necessary measures"

2010-09-16

The Pope said that he does not understand how a person who has committed his life to God can fall into such perversion. For the first time, the Pope acknowledged that the action of the Church in response to clerical abuse has been neither quick nor vigilant.

Benedict XVI
“It is a great sadness. It is sad, also, that the Church authorities were not vigilant enough, were not sufficiently quick and decisive in taking the necessary measures.”

The Pope continued asserting that what is most important is helping victims to heal and recover their lives.

Benedict XVI
"What is most important are the victims, what we can do to protect them, what we can do to help these persons overcome this trauma, to restore their life, and also to restore their trust in the message of Christ.” 

Benedict XVI said that for the Catholic Church this should be a time of penance and renewal.

Benedict XVI
"I think we truly need to undergo a time of penance, a time of humility and renewal, to re-embrace absolute sincerity. "

As to those guilty of abuse, the Pope said they should be excluded from any contact with young people for “they suffer from a disease that overrides free will.” Benedict XVI also called for preventive measures so that future cases of abuse can be avoided, such as measures in the education of seminarians and in the selection of candidates to the priesthood.

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