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All institutions should be accountable on sex abuse, Pope argues

Catholic World News - November 28, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI renewed his condemnation of sexual abuse in an address to visiting American bishops. The Pontiff added that while the Church “is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.”

Speaking to a group of bishops from the northeastern US, who were making their ad limina visits, the Pope said: “It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society.”

In his message to the American hierarchy, the Holy Father also spoke about the urgent need to address a “troubling breakdown in the intellectual, cultural and moral foundations of social life, and a growing sense of dislocation and insecurity, especially among the young.” He spoke with concern about “the cynicism of a society that seems to have lost its roots,” in which “the love of God has grown cold in so many hearts.” Emphasizing the gravity of the problem, the Pope insisted that “the seriousness of the challenges which the Church in America, under your leadership, is called to confront in the near future cannot be underestimated.”

Pope Benedict concluded that the Church in America must vigorously pursue the task to evangelization. Rejecting the idea that evangelization involves work in other countries, the Pope reminded the American bishops: “we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization.”

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