The Pope has begged forgiveness over the paedophile priests scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church. During a rally before thousands of priests in St Peter’s Square, he vowed that the Church would do everything to prevent a repeat.
Pope Benedict said the “Year of the Priest” celebrations had been marred because what he called the “priests’s sins” that had come to light.
“We insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the people involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again,” he said.
Hundreds of abuse cases have been revealed in Europe and the US. The comments were some of the most specific the Pope has made. But for some they were not enough.
“Today he could have said that no more priests will be in the ministry that have assaulted children,” said Peter Iseley of the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “We are turning them over to the police. We’re turning the evidence we have over to criminal authorities.”
The Pope also promised that the Church would bring in stronger controls on choosing priests. Some critics were disappointed he did not mention bishops, who have been accused of tolerating paedophile priests instead of taking action against them.