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Pope: Church feels 'shame and regret' for abuse
October 18th, 2010
08:32 AM ET

Pope: Church feels 'shame and regret' for abuse

Catholic priests who sexually abused children "disfigured their ministry" and caused the Catholic Church "profound shame and regret," Pope Benedict XVI wrote Monday, in one of his strongest statements to date on the scandal facing the Vatican. "

What has happened should make us all the more watchful and attentive," the pope wrote in an open letter to men studying to be priests.

But he insisted that it is still good to become a priest and that celibacy still "makes sense."

"Even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure," he said.

Campaigners for victims of abuse by priests immediately rejected the  statement as "minimizing" and "mischaracterizing" the crisis, which has seen  thousands of victims come forward from across western Europe and the United  States.

"The pope's pronouncements on abuse are getting worse, not better," said  Barbara Dorris of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

"Using words like 'recently' falsely suggests clergy sex crimes and  cover-ups are a relatively new problem. They are not," she said in a statement.

"Using the past tense falsely suggests such crimes and cover ups are  behind us. They are not," she said.

"Using words that ignore the stunning recklessness, callousness and  deceit by bishops falsely suggest that bishops are innocent in this mess. They  are not," she said.

"Tragically, while kids are being molested and crimes are being  concealed, the pope deliberately mischaracterizes and minimizes the wrongdoing  of the church hierarchy, while passively sitting  back waiting for the scandal to explode in yet another nation somewhere on the globe," she said.

Benedict in his letter defended priestly celibacy, which some have said is a reason some priests abuse children.

"All of us know exemplary priests, men shaped by their faith, who bear  witness that one can attain to an authentic, pure and mature humanity in this  state and specifically in the life of celibacy," he said.

He urged new priests "to practice the fundamental human virtues, with  your gaze fixed on the God who has revealed himself in Christ, and to let  yourselves be purified by him ever anew."

Three independent investigations have been launched into the abuse of  children by priests in Ireland, while police raided the headquarters of the  Catholic Church in Belgium and a church-government working group has been set  up to tackle the problem in the pope's native Germany.

There have also been accusations of abuse in the United States, Italy,  the Netherlands, and other countries.

Critics say the problem is not only the abuse itself, but the cover-up of  the problem by bishops.

Read the Pope's letter here.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Rob Rice

    This Pope, given his position when this stuff was happening and his own involvement in the cover-up, should resign for the sake of the Church, as part of a restoration of the Catholic Church. Do the right thing Pope Benedict, and resign.

    October 19, 2010 at 3:28 am |
  2. Vince

    Underlining the greatness of the priestly mission does not minimize anything. There are exemplary priests, and those who don't want celibacy shouldn't go for it.

    October 19, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  3. peaches

    God wants us to forgive each other. Just as he forgived us every time we make a mistake!

    October 19, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • peaches

      Too peaches from peaches , You can fool people,but you can,t fool God. This Priest know better!

      November 15, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  4. Wally

    My admiration to the Holy Father for a supreme act of humility in asking forgiveness for the sins of my brothers in the faith...the very same thing why Jesus died..He died for the sins of all

    October 19, 2010 at 1:45 am |
    • Frank

      I'm with you on that.

      October 19, 2010 at 2:25 am |
  5. Wally

    My admiration of to the Holy Father for a supreme act of humility for the sins of my brothers in the faith...the very same thing why Jesus died..He died for the sins of all

    October 19, 2010 at 1:44 am |
  6. Mr.Walker

    My gosh! Is this blog a playground for a bunch of teenagers or what? The comments sound so childish Good Evening, I am out of this crazy place.

    October 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
  7. Satan

    YOU RANG?

    October 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  8. ComeOut of There

    LOL@Gabriel Methinks DavidJohnson is Gabriel Starting a christian and athiest war!

    October 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Come Out of There: LOL! I wouldn't put it past him.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  9. Lizard

    NL

    If Jesus was based on preexisting myths, as many argue, then all of Christianity really has pagan origins, right?

    Only if you believe they are the mother church....which most don't...they have alotta paganism the cathylics

    October 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • NL

      But, if Christianity grew out of myths you're only arguing that the RCC has added additional myths to the standard ones every Christian accepts, right?

      October 18, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  10. godofheavens

    I won't comment on this one!! Except the vatican can suck my Anglican dic*

    October 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • Frank

      I think you should focus more on how your Anglican church is rupturing. Give it a few decades, it'll be the same as the Universalist Unitarians – no concrete direction at all.

      October 19, 2010 at 2:31 am |
    • Raison

      @godofheavens

      LOL You must be pretty hard up...LOL

      October 19, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  11. GABRIEL

    Be gone Satan.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
    • Raison

      @GABRIEL

      Talking to yourself? You would speak to "Satan" instead of "God"? Good grief, man, get ahold of yourself and ask yourself what you think you are doing here saying the things you are saying to us.....
      I don't think you even know what you are doing, so I am prepared to forgive you. But you've got to stop defending criminals.

      October 19, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  12. Albert

    This church should also be ashamed for spreading false Bible doctrine. Hellfire, the Trinity, Christmas, Easter, all lies. They actually have pagan origins.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • NL

      If Jesus was based on preexisting myths, as many argue, then all of Christianity really has pagan origins, right?

      October 18, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  13. GABRIEL

    Most child molesters are atheists.
    Most have children or step-children.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • NL

      GABRIEL-
      There's a difference between being an atheist and being a believer who can't control their selfish, sick impulses. How are RCC priests atheists? Come on, Christians all admit to sinning. So how is this any different from the usual lying, cheating, and murdering you ask forgiveness for every day?

      October 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  14. Michael

    Well put brown

    Btw...the 2 sympathizers for the Catholic Church, Sota and Gabriel....You go to your pope and tell him he is a criminal, for hording molestors, and hiding behind his papal authority. Then I will go to my neighbors, boss, etc Capish?

    Righteous anger at sin (RCC no exceptions) not jugements but facts. Stop defending criminals and stop being a part of the crime

    October 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • GABRIEL

      No you stop defending criminals, Michael. Go to your neighbours and boss right away.
      Tell them to stop molesting children. Now. Just like the pope told you to do.

      Comprende?

      October 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  15. brown

    Here we see the CEO of the most notorious band of pedophiles giving guidance and advice. Blow it out yer arrsse!

    October 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  16. Muneef

    There should be a change that allows pasters,priests or sisters,mothers or what ever they call them serving the church to get married and not with out being a husband and wife since they are only humans and have human needs and keeping them singals as males and females drive them to wrong doings at these weakest moments of Humans Needs!
    In Islam marriage is considered as half of the Religion and the other half is Pilgrimage,Hajj to Mecca! Doesn't matter which comes first but a man is complete as a one full moon only if had both done!
    So have mercy on those poor human beings otherwise their lives are burnt for nothing since God did not say so beside that they may contribute for more gays and lesbians from those children into the Society? 
    May God forgive me and all

    October 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
    • NL

      Yes, I agree, celibacy is too hard a burden to force upon anyone, of any age. Which is why I support full s-e.x education and the liberal availability of contraception to teens.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
    • Frank

      Celibacy really isn't that hard. S#x isn't everything.

      October 19, 2010 at 2:27 am |
    • Raison

      @Frank
      lol

      October 19, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • Muneef

      You can't be serious here about no marriage for s#x ? Thought Adult-ery is a sin? Guess some are hotter than others and were allowed up to four in order not to seek Adult-ery which was one of the reasons behind the spread of many diseases latest of which is Aids killing innocent unaware families and behind the birth of many Aids infected childrens !? Do you think Con-doms has resolved the issue for good or was a Con and Doom? Suggest laws are to allow the man to have marriage of more than one wife and give up Adult-ery for good beside it well help you keep your populations up since if adult-ery and the marriage of Gy's and lesb-ians is permited I expect a a Huge drop down in your race populations to exti-nction!?

      October 19, 2010 at 9:57 am |
    • Raison

      @Muneef
      LOL

      October 19, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.

      Don't think I quite understand the meaning of LOL I found you LOLing for Frank and Then LOLing for me although we are talking about opposites on things? What's it you liked more Lolita. Ha ha, sorry got carried away.

      October 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Frank

      What? I don't see what's so funny about what I said.

      October 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Frank

      Hahaha. Lolita.
      Muneef, LOL means 'laughing out loud'.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Frank

      Muneef, are you supporting polygamy?

      October 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • Raison

      @Muneef

      Sorry to see that you did not understand "LOL" or "lol"...as Frank mentioned, LOL = Laughing Out Loud...and by extension, "lol" means laughing but not so loud...okay?
      I found your post funny in how you put it where you did and what you said and a few other things. lol

      @Frank
      LOL, Frank, you are a funny guy sometimes. Is that a bad thing? 😀

      October 20, 2010 at 2:49 am |
    • Muneef

      @Frank.

      Dear Polygamy of up to four is a right granted to me by my religion but with tough conditions to comply with and not an open issue. It is allowed to marry the second wife if your first wife if suffering from certain disability or illness or was not able to give you birth of children or boys. Another thing complying to treating and giving or buy for both the same so fairly and not to favor one over another. Many married only one others two and up to four each is with his own capability to finance each house growing needs. Some marry them and keep in same house hold others will give different flats or houses for each.
      As for me I am having one wife and no intentions for additional one. The door is open for me and it is my choice but as long as my wife satisfies my needs and no complain I do not need to add.
      This choice give you the chance to keep supporting your first wife if she wants to remain with you with out the need to divorce her in order to get newly married!! But can say some are hotter than others and can afford it so why not rather than going some where else sinning to satisfy your extra or up normal needs.

      October 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.
      Yes just realized that explained to me by Frank. It is OK then take you rest and lol as you please if as sweeter as you words are when you want to?. Since in others you appeared as wounded tiger? Hope that was not offending?

      October 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Frank.
      To tell you the truth it did cross my mind several times when I am upset from my wife for some normal reasons of disputes but really not had the courage to go with it risking my first marriage or destroy my kids future since I know my wife stubborn and would not accept allowing me to give her a fellow wife with out asking for her divorce.
      For your information the Quran tell us that they have a mighty masters in cunning and deception therefore should not be taken as an enemy!? In one case a man after getting married with out his wife consent he came to the first wife and laid of the bed and dozed of asleep, his first wife went and boiled a big pot of cooking oil with sugar to extent and then took it and splashed it on her man who dead instantly with out saying a word or make a move so better watch out from the fire of jealousy that is much found in the east than the west maybe not sure...

      October 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Frank

      Raison:
      Well...if you say so. 😛
      Muneef:
      What about your wife? What if you don't satisfy her needs?

      October 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Frank.

      Well she has the right for a divorce and get married to some one else who will make her happier? See it is easier than Catholic Marriage were it is like a life time sentence and if was not to the stubbornness of the Church there and then Christianity would have still been one and England would have been still Catolic and now if they still remain stubborn and do not look at it the ways already mentioned to resolve the abuse issue the Chuch might get shredded to further pieces or have more coverts or non believers..

      October 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Frank.
      No hard feelings please "Truth is hard but is a fact"! ???

      October 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  17. GABRIEL

    Lets talk about child abuse.

    Tomorrow, please ask all your co-workers to stop abusing their children or step-children.
    3 out of 10 kids are molested. And thats mainly outside of the Catholic Church.

    So get to it. Tomorrow. Tell all your friends and co-workers to stop abusing children.

    Thanx.

    October 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  18. Iqbal khan

    Please Listen and read The Quran with translation in many different languages check

    http://www.Quranexplorer.com

    October 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  19. Sota

    "Judge not to be judged"! This is my first words to all of us! I do agree and sympathize we all the frustrations that many people have highlighted. Nevertheless, we should not lose sight and be more emotionless to what are the major issues!

    Have we tried to understand to be understood?
    Why there are many people that think that priests should no longer be in celibacy and still the Catholic church does?

    If you are not catholic, you will probably not understand! If you were, you probably do not understand either, otherwise you would not leave the chiurch in first place!

    My thinking is that there are so many things wrong in all places and all corners! I am struggling to think of any organization that is flawless or does not have its dark sides! The problem is that we keep ignoring and being hipocrits to the key problems that hit our mordern world.

    Before we can successfully want to see a change, one needs to look inside and see what he has done and could do different and we will then see, that the problem is always starting from within! How effective are we in our houses with our brothers, sons, and friends? How do we help the society? How much money we spend in an expensive car, or a big house but still miss to share and help those in greater need...

    May the peace be with you all and if we are all people of faith indeed, we should be praying to God wishing that he leads us to a better ways to solve our differences asking for forgiveness of our sins and all our brothers...

    Sota

    October 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • Raison

      @Sota

      If "forgiveness" does nothing to stop evil actions, then what "good" is it? But I like your post. 😛

      October 19, 2010 at 8:21 am |
    • Muneef

      To stop evil actions for good we are to make solutions and enforce them for all which might be rejected and blocked under the code of Human Rights and Freedoms!? Don't ask me what they are now but if you think it over your self you will find out what I meant...

      October 19, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • Raison

      @Muneef

      Thanks, I should have pointed that out instead. But I'm not sure that you realize how often people get sidetracked from seeking solutions.
      To call for forgiveness without also calling for solutions or without seeking them, is not what we should be doing, in my opinion. But I am not saying that forgiveness is bad....I just don't want child-abuse to be ignored through the use of "forgiveness" in an irresponsible manner.
      I guess I could have expressed myself better. Sorry.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.
      Nothing to be sorry for I was just enlightening things for you and all.

      October 19, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  20. Chris Taylor

    And so the Antichrist brings down church. who ever would have though that the Antichrist would be so many, Individualized selfishness, Positions of power abused, , exaltation at the expense of others, the beast of Superiority, does he not realize that we are all better of as equals, for god is in each and every individual equally.

    to find the Antichrist, look in the mirror, you will know if you see him or not, all you need do is look into you past, And judge your intent of the future. YOU WILL BE YOUR OWN JUDGE FOR YOUR DAMNATION, OR SALVATION.

    October 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • GABRIEL

      The Anti Christ does not bring down the Church Chris. Nothing will.

      Keep in mind, this is only the CNN-blog. It does not matter what blasphemies are spoken here, this is unholy ground anyway. They are as you said, only bringing down themselves when they blaspheme against GOD or His Church, as some are doing here.

      However, let us talk about child abuse instead, as the societal decease it is.
      Let us talk about the 3 out of 10 children that are abused every day around us.

      Let us talk about the Children who are being abused in this moment, by our friends and by our co-workers. Let us talk about child abuse.

      So forget about what occupation the abusers have, because that does not matter to the children being abused.

      If all these people here actually cared about children they would knock on their neigbours door and ask them to please stop molesting their kids.

      They would call their friends and ask them to please stop molesting their kids.

      They would walk in to their boss`office and ask him to please stop molesting his kids,
      because that is reality. 3 out of 10 children are molested. 3 out of 10.

      Stop that.

      October 18, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • Raison

      @GABRIEL

      That this is not "holy ground" is true. It is not "ground" but a blog on the internet. Yet it is "set apart" in its way....lol

      GABRIEL, if you are serious about stopping child-abuse, please stop doing your damndest to hinder our calls for justice on the behalf of the victims, for that only shows that you are one who seeks to divert and distract...and therefore an accomplice to the crimes committed.
      Am I wrong? Or am I right?

      October 19, 2010 at 8:18 am |
    • Muneef

      Come on we can not put the whole blame on Priests and Nuns!? Children might even be unsafe in the hands of their parents nor Relatives in reference to abuse but even worse when become killing their own children?
      So be fair and forgiving.

      October 19, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • Raison

      @Muneef

      That there are other child-abusers to be found in other places than the Catholic Church is not questioned here.

      This topic is about those child-abusers who are to be found using the shield of the Catholic Church in order to give them strength in harming children.
      If there was a different religion that was being used as a shield, I would fight against that as well. But this article is not about those other child-abusers. This is about the Catholic Church.

      October 19, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.

      Yes I know that but saw some one was mentioning that rapists are getting away with their crimes and that only priests are being blamed. So I had to mention for both.

      October 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Raison.
      Thought subject was about child a-buse and I take it in general as a problem whether a-bused by those who are supposed to shi-eld them as a Reli-gious or Parent-hood or similar ent-ities that are supposed to take care of orp-hans,parent-less,home-less children for proper directing and preparing for their future life in goodness and productivity for and among their society so should that be the duty of the church or the Gv. Or who exactly is supposed to take care of same since such places if not managed or supervised well can bring up a generation full of hat-red towards their society or future black-hearted ter-rorists that des-pise their nat-ion,soc-iety,comm-unity, cou-ntry and the world!? So how are they in general and not those only care of church? May God forgive and guide us all.Amen.

      October 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.