June 10th, 2010
06:29 AM ET

How should the pope address sex abuse scandal?

Thousands of priests from around the globe have gathered in Rome this week to mark the end of the Vatican's Year for Priests, and Pope Benedict XVI is expected to address the church sex abuse scandal during the event.

We've asked five crisis communication experts to give their advice on how the pope should handle the issue.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. neil

    Is this what has resulted from this crisis!....

    "Excommunication for the guilty priests, let's ABOLISH the church., illiterate sheep-herding nomads.., How 'bout people grow a brain and cast off these foolish delusions, "Popephile", LET THESE PRIESTS GO THROUGH THE HELL OF JAIL AND PRISON!!!!!!"

    Is this what has resulted, not attention and focus on the causes and prevention of pedophila, but the perversion of these stories by people who hate the catholic church to complain about the catholic church!

    June 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • TodL

      It's not that we "hate" the church, Neil: it's that we hate the mental shackles of religion in general. Dogmatic religion is a cancer that allows, among all of the many noteworthy historical examples of psychopathy and abuse, priests to have absolute power over the minds of the children (and PARENTS, let's not forget) in their parish because they are "holy". Religion makes people act irrationally. Believe in gods if you must; I have no problem with that. But it's time for religion to end. As Hitch says, it belongs to the infancy of our species... it's time to grow up and put away childish things.

      June 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  2. AceRider

    That hat is more scandalous than the scandal....

    June 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  3. Cindy

    Excommunicate them from the church and never to preach again. Convict them to the Nth degree, and put them on an island with one another and let them abuse each other like they have these poor children for decades if not centuries!

    June 10, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  4. robli143

    quit hiding from the truth! Apologize for your own mishandling when you were a bishop, create a zero tolerance policy, make sure the guilty are punished and the victims get two-fold apologies for the crime and the denials; and then step down because you have been proven fallable in matters of faith – widespread conspiracy, lies, protecting criminals and allowing them access to fresh meat everytime they commit crimes, and smoke and mirrors to avoid culpability – you are a sham.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  5. neil

    The question is what should the pope do to deal with this crisis, and all te answers are things that have already been done. I wouldn'tbe suprised if the second part of Cindy Lawson's first paragraph was lifted from a speech by the Pope. Why are we listening to PR people! This isn't a public relations crisis!

    Are people content to repeat the same stale criticisms of the Church and not adress the issues! Jon Bernstein says the Pope needs to give a mea culpa. The Pope has given a mea culpa.

    Is this what this whole issue is about. People complaining about the Church and disregarding what the Church does!

    June 10, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  6. PazStutz

    Simple: Excommunication for the guilty priests, then let the law take care of the pedophiles they are.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • brendie

      There is much speed in excommunicating people who disagree with the church on issues and refusal of communion for those politicians who don't obey the church's orders. Why not abusers and those who covered up – these are highly educated men (Law is a Harvard grad!) and they can't tell right from wrong???? Give me a break – at the very least out them.

      June 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  7. TodL

    Hey, I have an idea... let's ABOLISH the church. Maybe then people will have a chance to develop a rational, modern morality instead of one handed down by a bunch of illiterate sheep-herding nomads..

    I know. Too obvious.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  8. JT

    How 'bout people grow a brain and cast off these foolish delusions and belief in absurdities. It's 2010!! If you feel a need to believe in a god or anything else for which there is no evidence, then go ahead. But, why do you feel the need to follow some man-made cult and dogma and revere other men who think they are special and take advantage of your need to believe?

    June 10, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  9. devoted

    ALCON: Spare me the sanctimonious crap...you all are so anti-Catholic, so it doesn't matter what crimes a very few have committed, you would still spew your hate. I think we all hope the persons who are guilty do pay but the comments that show up here on these posts go way beyond "concern" for innocent children.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  10. teresa

    I am a "catholic" of sorts. The bible tells us before we 'come to the alter' we are to make right anything we have done or anyone we have offended. So... the pope needs to apologize, OUT all perps- including himself if that is the case- and have a plan to rebuild the church through its servants and those 'called'. Rarely does anyone who has been wronged get over being hurt without a sincere apology from the souce. No excuses, Pope. You could be the next messiah if you do the RIGHT THING and FIX THIS MESS with ALL DISCLOSURE and Punishment. Or, Pope, you could almost be known as a minion of satan if you do nothing. Jesus said: woe to those that harm a child. There is a little child in every one of the adult victims that needs comforted and validated. Lets fix it.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  11. MikinAZ

    The new legal term for this type of criminal is "Popephile"

    June 10, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  12. John

    He could start by not lying about it anymore.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  13. MikinAZ

    Here's a novel idea...Skip the, "reports to the church" step – it is a conflict of interest. All reports go straight to police, this is a legal matter not one that should be kept, "internal to the church". Police investigate, charges get filed, trials are held, verdicts, sentences. After the criminal justice system is through with the child molesters then the church can decide if they want to keep them as a member of their clergy while they rot in prison (if the code allows them to). All in favor?

    June 10, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  14. James White

    He should begin by dismantling the Legionaires of Christ – an Order founded by the most notorious pedophile in recent history. He should then fire many of the Bishops who covered up the scandal including the infamous Cardinal Bernard Law who is hiding in Rome. Finally, he himself should resign.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • brendie


      June 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  15. Sara

    Clearly, he should handle the situation with kid gloves.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • teresa


      June 10, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • brendie

      Isn't the handling of "kids" and covering that up the problem? Forget the gloves – rely on the truth – Didn't Jesus say I am the Way, The Truth, and the Light? Many of the clergy and the hierarchy do not recognize Truth and ergo do not recognize God who is Truth. Handling is what PR people do – we simply need a true recognition of what happened (cover-up included) and a real understanding that church members caused this themselves through crimes and covering up (aka abetting) crimes.

      June 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  16. xrk9854

    I'm a Catholic and I think a good FIRST step would for the Pope to resign. It's time for a major shake-up in the Church, to bring it into the 21st century. A big part of that would be getting back to basics, the teachings of Christ. Not the teachings of Paul that are so easily twisted, but Christ. Love, forgiveness and tolerance; not an out of control clergy and a hypocritical Crusade against LGBT people.

    June 10, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • no one

      agreed. if that happened i might even come back to the church. as of now i have no use for it at all.

      June 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Why Me

    Guess what... the Vatican needs to be RAIDED by our military, and the secret archived history of the world and religion that they are hiding from us needs to be taken and shared with the world. The Vatican is a dwelling place for demons and are preying upon our children, the one thing in our lives that is pure and good and matters most to us and yet not only are they above the law apparently, they are above any sort of retribution from any law in any country, and don't even have to worry about getting in trouble within the church! LET THESE PRIESTS GO THROUGH THE HELL OF JAIL AND PRISON!!!!!! And if not these molested children who are now adults and the parents of those victims who are still children; allow them to seek out their own retribution unimpeded and without consequence. This is the only way these demon priests will ever be discouraged from committing the most evil acts against the most innocent and helpless of our people. BURN THE VATICAN! TAKE BACK OUR HISTORY! TAKE BACK OUR GOD FROM THESE FALSE PROPHET WOLVES IN SHEEP CLOTHING!

    June 10, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • Mark Wright

      Oh THANK YOU Mr. Totally irrational man! You have saved the world!

      June 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Moe Smith

      dude... breathe less oxygen... drink more draino...

      June 10, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ken

      You need to up your meds.

      June 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  18. Eric G.

    I think we can all agree on what the Pope and the church should do. The question becomes what the chruch will do. They have spent alot of money to settle abuse claims all over the world. I think the church will not take full responsibility for the abuse cases because they will open themselves up to criminal investigation on a organizational basis. I think their position will be based on protecting the church, not the priests or families that were abused.

    June 10, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  19. Nick Yee

    Pedophile priests should be arrested and and prosecuted by the authorities with the maximum penalties in mind.

    Any attempts by the church to CONCEAL or SETTLE with the family of the victims should be regarded as CRIMINAL acts.

    I cannot believe that any church could protect these pedophile... expletives.

    June 10, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  20. Timothy Genera

    Why should the Pope have any say at all in a legal matter? In what possible universe does that make any sense at all? If a priest is involved in a crime we have to first check with his supervisor before throwing him in jail?

    June 10, 2010 at 10:48 am |
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