It’s all over the news today, but I find this important enough (in general and in the context of our documentary about child abuse by missionaries) to repost part of the latest Reuters article about Pope Benedict’s statement. Of course, his statement is especially important in light of all the years of denial that abuse took place at all.
From Reuters, April 15:
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Benedict said on Tuesday he was “deeply ashamed” over sexual abuse by clergy in the United States and vowed to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood, as he began his first U.S. trip as pontiff. His comments directly addressed one of the toughest issues facing him on the first visit to the United States by a pope since a wave of sex abuse scandals began in 2002 and forced the country’s Roman Catholic dioceses to pay more than $2 billion in settlements.
Polls say three-quarters of U.S. Catholics have a favorable impression of the German-born pontiff, but just as many say they disapprove of the defensive way the Church initially responded.
“We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” he told reporters on his flight to Washington.
The Church will do everything possible in screening candidates for the priesthood, he said, “so that only really sound persons can be admitted.”
“It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests,” said Benedict […]
By Philip Pullella
Again in the context of abuse by missionaries, Churches still continue to deny that their missionaries abused children. Furthermore, I’m not sure if any other Church has made such a statement about screening their staff. Of course, in general a lot of statements are made without there ever being a follow-through.