Catholic World News

Pope voices sorrow for 'unspeakable crimes' of abuse

September 18, 2010

During his homily at a Mass celebrated on Saturday morning in Westminster cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his “deep sorrow” for the “unspeakable crimes” of sexual abuse.

In his homily, which centered on the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ, the Pope spoke about different people who suffer today, including the sick and the elderly. He then said:

Here too I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives. I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.

Before the Mass, the Pope had met at the archbishop’s residence with the leaders of the government: Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg, and opposition leader Harriet Harman. The British prime minister had been unable the Pope’s appearance on Friday at Westminster Hall because he was attending his father’s funeral.

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  • Posted by: Saved by Grace - Sep. 18, 2010 12:44 PM ET USA

    I especially like that the pope asks for those who share the shame but not the blame for this tragedy to offer this shame as reparation for the sins of those who are to blame. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse myself, I know that healing is the only hope a victim has, and I applaud our pope for encouraging the victims to seek healing. May every faithful Catholic make reparation for the outrage! Reparation will go far in mending this horrible wound to our Holy Mother Church!

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 18, 2010 11:50 AM ET USA

    A truly heartbreaking situation. As Christ's Vicar, it must be an enormously humbling and difficult burden for Pope Benedict to have to continue to make these statements. The futility of attempting to placate the victims and families or to defuse the public's outrage is certainly well understood by the pope. He has taken his cross with great dignity and a striking sensitivity to "doing the right thing" throughout his pontificate. God bless him, and God grant us holy priests!